Coffee with Captain: PPCC chief criticises SAD-BJP over drug issue

  • Sumeer Singh, Hindustan Times, Ludhiana
  • Updated: Apr 09, 2016 21:32 IST
PPCC chief Captain Amarinder Singh at Welcome Palace in Ludhiana on Friday. (JS Grewal/HT Photo)

Terming drug menace the most debatable and a key poll issue in the state, Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) president Captain Amarinder Singh on Friday said that if he was voted to power, his priority would to counter drug menace from Punjab. He said he would identify and catch the drug lords, who were channelizing the drug networks and bring-in more drug rehabilitation centres in the state.

Talking to HT, former chief minister of Punjab, Amarinder, who was here to hold a session during the first edition of “Punjab Da Captain” campaign, said that the consent between the Border Security Force (BSF) troops and Pakistani forces had provided patronage for a bigger drug network operating in the region, making its way in the country from Afghanistan. The biggest irony, however, was that despite it being known to the government, they have not taken any serious steps to counter smuggling of drugs from across the border,” he said.

Amarinder added that as a large chunk of rural as well as urban youth was caught up in the vicious circle of drug net and freeing them would be on his priority.

Congress party workers during Coffee with Captain in Ludhiana on Friday. (JS Grewal/HT Photo)

While talking about severity of the drug menace in the state, Captain attributed it to lack of seriousness on the part of ruling Shromani Akali Dal (SAD)-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) alliance. While lashing out on the ruling government, the PPCC president said in the government has done little to root out the menace from the state.

Questioning the authenticity of the existing rehabilitation centres in Punjab, Captain said there were “inefficient officials employed at the centres and proper monitoring is never been conducted”. “So, appointing competent officials, who can work honestly by taking good care of addicts, will result in curbing the menace,” he added.

Commenting on the legal production of opium in a few states and involvement of influential office bearers of the government and police department with drug lords, Amrinder said it had added to the drug menace in Punjab. “Easy access to the heroin (a synthetic drug) in the state has engulfed the youth of rural areas of state,” he said.

On being asked that industrial units shifting their base from Ludhiana to other states, the PPCC president said, “Owing to high land and power cost, a large chunk of cycle industry has shifted their base to Jharkhand and nearby states in eastern belt of the country, therefore, Congress will lay more emphasis to provide power and land on cheaper rates, so that industrial investment, which has seen a deep plunge in last one decade, can be revived in the future.”

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