Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma has called for a zero-tolerance policy against drug traffickers and dealers in the state and directed police officials to 'act decisively' to uproot the drug menace from society.
Sarma participated in the 'Seized Drugs Disposal' programmes where they publicly set fire to illegal drugs and psychotropic substances. Have a look:
The chief minister himself took part in the four programmes in Golaghat and Diphu to give out a message of zero-tolerance against illegal drugs.
Highlighting that trade in illegal drugs in Assam is worth about Rs 5,000 crore annually, the Chief Minister on Sunday urged the police to be unrelenting in their war on drugs. He also emphasised the need for proper rehabilitation of reformed drug addicts and directed the Health and the Social Welfare departments to work together in this regard.
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He said the fight against drugs is a three-pronged one first to check the supply chain, then to curb the distribution network, and third to rehabilitate those affected by its abuse.
Action against drug trafficking across the region has accelerated after that meeting, he said, adding that 'strong intelligence network and cultivating sources' were absolutely necessary to deal with it as 'people inside the government' are also involved in these rackets due to the lure of easy money.
He claimed that many insurgent outfits were using drug-addicted youths as their cadre, though the ULFA was not among such groups.
Pointing out that people want the drug peddlers to be shot dead instead of arresting them, Sarma said though the police must act tough against the criminals, they have to do so by following laid-down rules.
"I have given permission (to police) for extreme action (against drug peddlers), but within the law," he added.
Sarma said he has urged the police to use the toughest laws to curb the drug menace as it is destroying the social fabric of the state and pushing an entire generation into darkness.
Speaking to reporters in Diphu, the chief minister said that drugs worth Rs 163 crore have been seized and 1,493 people arrested since his government assumed office two months ago.
The seized contraband includes 19 kg heroin, 8,276 kg ganja, 14 kg opium, 67,650 cough syrup bottles, 1,920 kg morphine, Rs one crore in cash and foreign currency worth Rs 13,630, the chief minister said.
Altogether 9.733 kg heroin, 253.301 kg cannabis, 977 gm of opium, and 2,71,904 seized tablets were burnt in Nagaon, while 324.732 kg heroin, 1015.627 kg ganja/ cannabis, and 35,522 seized tables were destroyed in Hojai.
As many as 1,493 drug peddlers have been arrested, 874 cases registered against them, and illegal drugs worth Rs 163 crore seized in the state since Sarma assumed the charge of chief minister on May 10. (With inputs from PTI)