Punjab Congress president Captain Amarinder Singh on Friday blasted deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal’s claims that the state had only 0.06% (around 16,000 in a population of 2.7 crore) drug addicts, saying that SAD-BJP government had admitted a much higher figure in the high court only about seven months ago.
Reacting after HT reported how Sukhbir was wrong in his claim, the former CM asked Sukhbir to refer to his own government’s affidavit submitted to the Punjab and Haryana high court on July 13, 2015, whereby it had admitted to having identified more than 3 lakh drug abusers. “And within seven months of that the deputy CM says there are just 16,620 drug addicts in Punjab, which is an outright lie,” he remarked.
Amarinder said, “Although I don’t even agree with the figures in the affidavit; the number of addicts is much more than that as an entire generation has been destroyed by drugs.”
He claimed, the government had even provided wrong information about the treatment by saying 13,000 addicts were being treated in OPD as the drug addicts have to be admitted indoors. “This is the characteristic attitude of Badals to deny the very existence of a problem.”
Mann calls Sukhbir a ‘compulsive lair’
Meanwhile, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Sangrur MP, Bhagwant Mann also lambasted Sukhbir for allegedly distorting the recent study of All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) to “subvert the widespread menace of drugs in the state.”
Mann said instead of tackling the peril of extensive drug abuse in Punjab especially among the youth, Sukhbir juggled with the figures of the AIIMS study released in the month of January, which clearly found that opioids and other synthetic derivatives worth Rs 7,500 crore were being consumed in the state every year.
“And of the drug consumption, the share of heroin was pegged at massive Rs 6,500 crore, AIIMS had pointed in the study,” said Mann.
Mann was referring to the claim made by Sukhbir on Thursday in Jalandhar that only 16,000 people of Punjab, which constitutes just 0.06 per cent, were hooked on to the drugs and the problem was more severe in Mumbai and Delhi.
Terming Sukhbir a ‘compulsive liar’, Mann said either Sukhbir himself was ignorant of the massive drug problem or was hoodwinking the people of Punjab.
The deputy CM should not forget his “alliance partner BJP’s brand ambassador, Baba Ramdev, who had said in the month of May last year that 80 per cent of youths in Punjab have fallen prey to the drug menace.”
Mann said the AIIMS study had also pointed that 2.3 lakh people in Punjab were opioid dependent and more than 8.6 lakhs were estimated to be opioid and users of synthetic drugs.
Mann said, “Instead of presenting manipulative figures before the media and the people of Punjab, Sukhbir by now should have taken some concrete steps to tackle the drug problem in the state, which unfortunately his government had failed to do during the last 9 years of tenure.”