Chandigarh: Punjab Congress today challenged Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal to refute the data on drug addicts provided by his own government through RTI and alleged that the “figures reinforce the charge that Badals distribute drugs during elections.” The party put into public domain the data on drug menace in Punjab since 2007. According to the latest information provided by the state government, 6,22,381 patients have approached de-addiction centres, a release by the Punjab Congress stated.
“It is a established fact that only a small portion of people approach de-addiction centres. This figure can safely be multiplied by five to arrive at the rough estimate of people addicted to drugs,” the party’s RTI Cell chairman Dr Jasdeepak Singh said.
The party threw an open challenge to Badal calling upon him to refute the figures supplied by his own government or tender an apology. “Badal should tell the people as to how many people, who approached these centres, were addicted to heroin which is smuggled from Pakistan as he has been blaming smuggling from across the border”, Singh said.
The highest number of 1,22,271 drug addicts approached de-addiction Centre have been reported from Bathinda, the Lok Sabha constituency represented by Union Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal said.
“It seems Bathinda is one district where drugs are most easily available and this is not possible with patronage from those in the ruling party. Nothing moves in this Lok Sabha Constituency without a nod from the Badal family,” Singh said.
“These figures also reinforce the charge that Badals distribute drugs during elections among voters”, Congress said. The party said that the facts were too well known to Badal and also the people who were patronising drug trade that involved a lot of money.
It was for this reason that he (Badal) kept mum when Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh raised this issue from the Akali Dal stage on June 19 at Anandpur Sahib, Congress stated, adding the entire information was available with the Union Home Minister which he dare not challenge.
Jasdeepak Singh said this might be the reason that Badal was facing humiliation repeatedly at the hands of leaders from the alliance partner BJP repeatedly on this issue.