Other States

Opposition in Punjab questions govt’s intent in curbing drug menace

Video of a few Ministers’ casual talk on opium availability recently went viral

After a video of casual talk among a few Punjab Ministers on opium availability during a recent Cabinet meeting went viral on social media, Opposition parties have questioned the intent of the ruling Congress government towards controlling the drug menace in the State.

The video pertaining to the December 2 meeting of the Punjab Cabinet, which reportedly was released mistakenly by staff at the government’s Public Relation Department, shows a few Ministers talking about the benefits and availability of opium. While referring to opium as “kali dvayi” (black medicine), the video shows a few Ministers talking about the drug in a lighter vein. While one is heard asking about where to get the opium, another says that he would have to go to Rajasthan to get the drug. One of them is heard elaborating about the benefits of the drug, amid laughter.

Aam Aadmi Party and Shiromani Akali Dal have both accused the ruling Congress government in Punjab of failing to curb the problem of drug menace in the State.

Leader of Opposition in Punjab Assembly and senior AAP leader Harpal Singh Cheema on Thursday said the video had put a question mark on the intent of the ruling Congress government against curbing the drug menace.

“The casual manner in which the Ministers are seen talking about drugs in the video is unfortunate. It only shows their non-seriousness towards the drugs problem. Also, the talks reveal that Ministers were aware of where opium is available,” said Mr. Cheema.

Mr. Cheema alleged that the free flow of drugs in the State was not feasible without the tacit support of the political masters offering protective cover to the drug mafia. “The menace of drugs continues unabated in the State while the Congress is in deep slumber. A sitting judge of High Court should investigate the matter related to drugs menace and it should take cognizance of the Cabinet meeting video,” said Mr. Cheema.

Shiromani Akali Dal senior leader and former Minister Daljeet Singh Cheema said that the video had exposed the Congress government. “They have been exposed before the public through this video and public is the best judge. Such a casual discussion on a serious issue of drugs by Ministers shows that the government is not concerned about eradicating the drugs menace,” said Mr. Cheema.

Accusing the State government of reneging on its poll promise to end the menace within four weeks after assuming power in 2017, Mr. Cheema said that nothing on the ground had happened even two years after the Congress assumed power.

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Printable version | Feb 24, 2020 6:16:23 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/opposition-in-punjab-questions-govts-intent-in-curbing-drug-menace/article30177287.ece

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