NCB conference on drug trafficking: Drug problem more in Punjab, need to put in more effort to fight menace: Shah | Guwahati City News

by Guwahati_City

Stating that the drug problem was more in Punjab, Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Saturday assured full support of the Centre to the state government in the fight against the drug menace.

He was speaking after inaugurating the two-day conference on ‘Drug Trafficking and National Security’ on Saturday.

Mooting a proposal to set up a forensic lab in Amritsar and opening a centre of the NCB that will provide training, Shah said that the Centre “stands shoulder-to-shoulder with Punjab to keep the youth of the state from drugs”. He stressed on co-ordination between the Centre and the states to combat the problem of drugs. The Centre’s zero tolerance policy against narcotics has been showing tremendous results since the BJP-led NDA came to power at the Centre in 2014, Shah added.

Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann, Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar, Punjab Governor Banwarilal Purohit, Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha, Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla and NCB chief S N Pradhan were present at the conference organised by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) at Punjab Raj Bhawan.

“Today the Punjab CM is here. I feel that the drug problem is more in Punjab. It is a border state and if the problem is more, then we will have to make more efforts. If the state government allots land, the Centre will set up a forensic lab in Amritsar and a small centre of NCB for training purpose,” he said.

The states must work in tandem with the Centre to eliminate the scourge of drugs, he added.

“Nearly 200% more cases have been registered between 2014 and 2022 as compared to 2006-13. During 2014-22, there has been a 260% increase in arrests made,” he said.

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Shah said that 1.52 lakh kg drugs were seized during 2006-2013, while 3.3 lakh kg drugs were seized in the 2014-2022 period.

Drugs worth Rs 768 crore were seized between 2006 and 2013, while drugs worth Rs 20,000 crore were seized between 2014 and 2021, he said.

He said that a 75-day drug eradication campaign is in progress (from June to August 15). “On Saturday we destroyed about 31,000 kg of drugs in four cities (Delhi, Chennai, Guwahati and Kolkata). At the end of the 75-day campaign on August 15, the quantity will touch 1 lakh kg with an estimated black market value of around Rs 3,000 crore.”

For coordination among various central and state agencies, the Narco Coordination Centre (NCORD) mechanism was set up by MHA in 2016 to conduct regular meetings.

On Saturday NCORD portal was also launched. From this portal, all agencies across the country will not only be able to get information but also be able to exchange best practices of NCORD.

Shah spoke about steps being taken by the Centre to weed out the problem of drugs while asserting that “the zero tolerance policy against drugs was necessary to achieve the objective of a healthy society and prosperous nation”.

Nearly 31,000 kg of drugs were destroyed by NCB teams in Delhi, Chennai, Guwahati and Kolkata in the virtual presence of Shah.

“Also, it is important from the security point of view that the dirty money generated from the drug trade is not used in activities against the country,” the home minister said.

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Shah also spoke about establishment of fast-track and exclusive courts for drugs-related matters.

He said the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and many other agencies were working on combating the drug smuggling in Punjab (via India-Pakistan border) through drones.

Asking the states to keep a watch on new drug smuggling routes, Shah said that out of total seizures in the last one year, 81% of narcotics came through the sea route.

Shah expressed satisfaction that 21 states have set up anti-narcotics task force. He said the darknet and cryptocurrency are linked to the narcotics trade and the home ministry has recently set up a task force in this regard.

He said, “An agreement has been signed between NCB and National Forensic Science University under which they will provide guidance in establishing a modern forensic lab in any state.”

He said, “We have identified 272 districts and more than 80,000 villages across the country. Every person and every agency should take up this fight strongly in their respective areas.” The Centre had “signed separate MoUs on narcotics with 44 countries and exchange of information is taking place”.

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Shah said that he has “great expectations from the state as the Centre alone cannot fight this battle. We all together have to carry this fight forward”.

Urging the states “not to make it a Centre-state issue” regarding seizure of drugs, Shah said the states should co-operate with NCB and NIA whenever the intervention of the central agencies was required.

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During the day-long visit to Chandigarh, Shah also inaugurated three buildings of government schools, dedicated five electric buses to Chandigarh and attended a laser light show at Sukhna Lake.

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