New Delhi : The Congress is pressing Prime Minister Narendra Modi to ban opium cultivation in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan to curb the menace of drug abuse.

Party general secretary Digvijay Singh wondered the need to produce opium when morphine can now be made synthetically. Pointing out that he has been campaigning for banning the opium cultivation since 1985, he said: “If the Prime Minister is serious about drug menace, smuggling from across the Pakistan border should be checked and opium cultivation stopped completely.”

His remarks came in support of the Congress colleagues from Punjab – Amarinder Singh and Pratap Singh Bajwa – who too had asked Modi to clarify his stand after the issue was raised by Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal and his deputy Sukhbir Badal.

Digvijay Singh endorsed the demand of Sukhbir Badal to clamp a ban on opium cultivation in BJP-ruled Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh to contain the drug menace in Punjab. He pointed out that Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi had rather campaigned in Punjab against the drug menace affecting the entire new generation in the state.

He said, the ruling Akali Dal had protested when Rahul pointed out the drug menace going out of all proportions in Punjab but its chief minister and other leaders have themselves realised the dimensions of the menace. Besides banning of the opium cultivation, the Punjab government must come down heavily on the drug mafia operating in the state, he added.

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