Home Minister Amit Shah on July 30 asserted that the BJP-led government at the Centre was effectively pursuing a decisive war against the drugs menace. Drugs worth ₹20,000 crores were seized in the country between 2014 and 2021, as against the seizure of drugs worth ₹768 crores between 2006 and 2013, he pointed out.
This difference is indicative of the fact that the government’s campaign and its path is in the right direction, he said, adding that the Government of India has a multi-pronged approach towards ‘Drug Free India’ and is progressing at a rapid pace in that direction.
“The necessity is to put a cap on a few loopholes that are left on the path, and I want to assure that we are rapidly working in that direction,” he said.
Mr. Shah pegged the amount of drugs seized between 2014 and 2021 at 3.3 lakh kilograms; this number was 1.52 lakh kilograms between 2006 and 2013. Registration of cases related to drugs has seen a 200% rise, while the percentage of arrests in drug cases has gone up to 260% during the same period, he said.
Mr. Shah was speaking at the National Conference on Drug Trafficking and National Security aimed at formulating strategies to root out drug abuse from the northern States. The Chief Ministers of Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, and Punjab, the Administrator of Chandigarh and officers of different Drugs Enforcement Agencies participated in the first of its kind national conference.
Acknowledging that smuggling of drugs is a big challenge for national security, Mr. Shah said the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government is dealing with it firmly. “We are committed to freeing the young generation from the menace of drugs. To make this fight against drugs more coordinated, many new initiatives like NCORD and NIDAAN portals have been initiated,” he said.
“We have also changed our approach in the fight against drugs. If a large quantity of drugs is caught somewhere, the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) has made an SOP to get to the bottom to find out where it was supposed to go and from where it came inside the country. This holistic approach is proving useful in taking this fight to the endpoint. The Ministry of Home Affairs is working to curb drug smuggling under the three-pronged formula, including strengthening of the institutional structure, empowering and coordination of all narcotics agencies at the Centre and State, and awareness campaigns,” he said.
“Drug smuggling is very dangerous for any society, its spread in the society like termites hollows the roots of the society and the country. The dirty money generated from the drugs trade is used in anti-national activities. By eliminating it from the root, the Modi government is ensuring the security of the country,” he added.
Himachal Pradesh CM Jai Ram Thakur said the State is using technology to curb drug menace. “The State government in 2019 launched a toll-free drug prevention helpline number ‘1908’ with an aim to encourage the general public to share information about drug traffickers. The identity of the informers was being kept secret. Also, the government has started a mobile app ‘Drug Free Himachal’ on which the people could provide information to the police about drug trafficking, its sale and use,” he said.
Haryana CM Manohar Lal said that the problem of drug addiction and drug trafficking is not limited to any one country rather the entire world is fighting against this societal evil. “Owing to various reasons, not only our youth but children are also falling prey to substance abuse. The network of drug dealers is spread all over the country. Law enforcement agencies of various States are putting up a tough fight to break this network. However, this problem can be curbed if the law enforcement agencies of different states work untidily with mutual coordination,” he said.
Punjab CMr said it is high time that all the States act in unison with each other to combat this menace. Without indulging in credit wars, States should focus on eliminating gangsters, drug smugglers and terrorists, he added.