Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin on Wednesday tasked police officials to take stern measures to eliminate drug menace in the state and announced several measures to take on the scourge of narcotics. No police official should abet drug peddlers, Chief Minister warned them and said he is a ‘soft CM’ only for honest officials.
Citing the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act that provides for a higher punishment if a person holding a public office commits an offence taking advantage of his official position, Stalin said he still believed that a scenario warranting invoking such stringent provisions of law would not arise.
It is a cause of concern that every day, those getting addicted to drugs/narcotics was on the rise in Tamil Nadu.
Stalin blamed the previous AIADMK regime (between 2011 to 2021) for not paying enough attention to tackle the menace.
Now, the government is giving special focus to do away with the drug menace. Substance abuse is a social issue and it must be completely eliminated as it acts as a trigger to crimes including sexual harassment, he said.
Stalin’s instruction to police and district officials comes in the wake of recent accusations from main opposition AIADMK that ganja is being ‘sold freely in Tamil Nadu’. Under the influence of ganja, a woman was gang-raped here by six men on Tuesday.
In a meeting of district collectors and police superintendents here, Stalin announced several measures. It includes creation of a post of deputy police superintendent (Intelligence) in every district, implementing integration of prohibition enforcement wing with the state narcotics intelligence bureau (a Government Order would be issued to enable it).
While there are 12 courts now to try NDPS cases (Essential Commodities and NDPS Court), one court would be set up for every two districts in the state, he said. Exclusively, a cyber cell would be set up in the state narcotics intelligence bureau.
He advised officials to invoke stringent provisions of the NDPS Act to see to it that those involved in targeting school children and students are severely punished.
The Chief Minister said that the smuggling of ganja from neighbouring states must be ended by taking steps like strengthening border check-posts. In hilly terrains in districts like Theni, periodical action must be taken to ensure that ganja is not grown surreptitiously in agricultural lands.
A list of drug kingpins and smugglers must be prepared and they should be exposed, he said. Stalin listed several other measures including confiscation of properties of offenders and creating a toll-free number to help public share information to police on drug peddlers.
Chief Secretary V Irai Anbu, Director General of Police C Sylendra Babu, and senior government and police officials participated.