We need to fight the drugs menace in Goa collectively: Deputy Speaker Michael Lobo.
By ANI Correspondent Anil Sanadi
Panaji (Goa) [India], Aug.15 ( ANI ): Goa State Assembly Deputy Speaker Michael Lobo has said that the drugs menace currently prevailing in his state has to be fought and countered collectively.
In an exclusive interview to ANI on the occasion of the 71st Independence Day of the country, Lobo, a prominent leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), said, "There are some elements in our society who are attempting to wrest away our freedom by introducing drugs in the state. Real independence does not mean that people stay quiet; they have to wake up as they did in the fight for independence; they have to speak out and air their concerns to stop the organised drug trade".
While expressing sadness over the recent deaths of two youth in the state due to drug overdose, Lobo said real independence will come only when India is free of drugs.
"The lovely state of Goa should be free of drugs to promote good and healthy tourism. Goa should be known for its culture and the legendary warmth of the Goans, its beautiful beaches and scenic beauty. We do not want people to come to Goa and ask for drugs," said Lobo.
He called upon the people to assist the government in waging a war on drugs.
Lobo's appeal came a day after Goa's Town and Country Planning Minister Vijai Sardesai alleged that there is a "police-drug peddler nexus" operating in the state, and adding that, "drug trafficking cannot happen without collusion of some people at the top."
Their views came after two males, one from Tamil Nadu and the other from Kerala, died after attending a rave party on Vagator Beach in North Goa on Sunday night.
Sardesai, who heads the Goa Forward Party--one of the allies of the BJP-led state government--said Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar has ordered a crackdown on the drug trade and the police have started arresting some suspects.
"Nobody in the Goa government supports the drug trade, which means some police officials are involved in it (drug trade). I want the government to crack down on such police officers. There is a nexus between the police and the drug peddlers in the coastal belt," Sardesai told media here on Monday evening.
The minister said his party and the state government have a policy of "zero tolerance" for drugs.
"We won't allow drugs in the state, but despite all this the drug overdose happened and two youths died, which means drugs are available," he said.
Later, on Monday night, North Goa Superintendent of Police Chandan Choudhury banned music events and rave parties after 10 p.m. to crack down on drugs sold at late-night parties in the state.
She said that she would make sure that the time limit is adhered to.
Choudhury was speaking after attending a high-level meeting chaired by Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar following the death of Pravin Surendran from Tamil Nadu and Nidam Abdulla from Kerala at a private hospital in Anjuna after they were admitted after suspected overdose of drugs.
They were found dead on Sunday morning after attending two separate parties at Anjuna in North Goa.
Choudhury said drug overdose cannot be ruled out from the case.
She said, "Drugs are freely available to youngsters who come over from Kerala, Bengaluru and Hyderabad. Party drugs have been recovered from young tourists who visited the State during long weekends."
Ms. Choudhury said the North Goa police and the Anjuna police jointly conducted a crackdown on Sunday evening in Anjuna and Vagator and arrested Achinto Rup Banerjee (20) from Visakhapatnam with drugs worth Rs. 20,000. ( ANI )
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