Assam CM burns illegal drugs worth ₹163 cr to send message of zero-tolerance
Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma participated in four different events over Saturday and Sunday, where seized contraband worth nearly ₹163 crore was burnt to give out a message of zero-tolerance against illegal drugs.
The events at Diphu, Golaghat, Barhampur and Hajoi in central Assam were part of the new Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led government’s ongoing campaign against illegal drug trade after it returned to power in May this year.
“Trade in illicit drugs is an epidemic and those involved in it should be dealt with stringently. It affects youths, destroys their families and gives rise to various other social ills,” Sarma said at one of these events in Barhampur on Sunday.
“When we assumed office, we decided to provide succour to those addicted by illegal drugs and also their families. Our first effort was to stop the supply of drugs to our state, second was to end its circulation and third was to rehabilitate those affected by its abuse,” he added.
Sarma said that between May 10 and July 15, the state police registered 874 cases under Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act and arrested 1,493 drug dealers across the state and seized nearly ₹163 crore of the contraband.
On July 14, the CM informed the state assembly that over 27 kg of heroin, 12,823 kg marijuana, 41 kg opium, 78,000 bottles of cough syrup, over 1.3 million psychotropic tablets, 3 kg morphine, 3 kg crystal methamphetamine, 3,300 kg poppy straw and ₹1.80 crore in cash were seized since May 10.
On Saturday, Sarma burnt 802 gm of heroin, 1,205 kg of cannabis, 3 kg opium and over 200,000 psychotropic tables at Golaghat followed by burning of 3.47 kg of heroin, 11.88 kg of morphine, 103 kg of cannabis, 2.89 kg of crystal methamphetamine and over 200,000 psychotropic tablets at Diphu.
On Sunday, the CM burnt 10 kg of heroin, 253 kg of cannabis, 977 gm opium, over 271,000 psychotropic substances at Barhampur followed by burning of 3.2 kg heroin, 1,015 kg cannabis, over 35,000 psychotropic substances at another event at Hojai later.
“If we assume that the seized drug was just 10% of the entire quantity smuggled into Assam, we can say that the trade in illegal drugs in Assam is worth nearly ₹5,000 crore annually,” the CM said on Sunday.
Reacting to allegations by opposition parties that police were trigger happy in their operations against the drug dealers, Sarma said that the cops have been instructed to deal with the drug dealers strictly.
“Some people say that the police should shoot these criminals dead instead of arresting them, but we can’t do that and we have to perform our duties within the ambit of law. I have asked the police department to be as strict as possible against drug dealers while following [the] laid down laws,” he said.