Amid the war of words over the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) rallies on the international border on Monday, SAD MP and union food processing minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal seems to be backing the party line of "removing the tag of drug addicts' state" for Punjab as is reflected from the stance adopted by the party leadership on the issue.
While talking to the media during the oath-taking ceremony of the newly appointed chairman of the market committee of Bathinda Sikandar Singh Sidhu at the grain market here, she said that Punjab is being defamed on the issue of drugs while the state doesn't produce any of the narcotics and these are only smuggled into the state.
Importantly, deputy chief minister and SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal has cried foul over the state being 'defamed' over the issue of drugs. The state government's strong urge to get rid of this tag was also reflected from the advertisements issued by the public relations department on Saturday targeting central agencies for drug trafficking from across the international border.
When asked about the SAD rallies on the border 'to press the Border Security Force (BSF)' to check drug inflow into the state and the advertisements issued by the state government targeting central agencies on this issue, she said that the SAD's priority was to remove the tag of Punjab being a state of drug addicts and, at the same time, to curb the menace of drugs.
On the lines of the deputy chief minister, the union minister, while seeking a uniform policy on drugs, said, "It is unfair that some states earn huge profits by cultivating narcotics, while some have to face the bad consequences of these narcotics and it is strange that no one is targeting the source to get rid of the menace, rather everyone is targeting the state that is suffering because of them."
"During the last ten years, the Congress remained at the helm of affairs at the Centre and it never took an initiative to fight against drugs leaving the country in such a state," she said.
While calling upon other political parties to fight the war against narcotics together for restoring the purportedly defamed glory of Punjab, she even went on saying that the SAD has no hesitation in becoming a part of the proposed drive against drugs by the BJP which will be launched by party president Amit Shah. "It's the responsibility of every political party in the state to give a message to the countrymen that Punjab is not a state of drug addicts," she added.
She also laid the foundation stone of the food processing training-cum-business incubation centre at the regional research station of Punjab Agricultural University here.
Sharing her plans for empowering the dairy sector, she said that talks were going on with the Amul Milk Cooperative Society of Gujarat to replicate their model in Mansa district and a team from Amul is expected to visit Mansa soon following which the district would be developed into a milk-producing centre that could meet the demand for milk and its products in the Malwa region.