Opposition slams Odisha government for drug trafficking

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Bhubaneshwar: The opposition BJP and Congress on Wednesday criticized the Odisha government for its alleged failure to control alcohol consumption and the illegal drug trade in Odisha. Opposition MPs called on the government to take exemplary action against the alcohol mafia and drug traffickers. The BJP moved an adjournment motion in the Assembly over the growing drug trade in the state.

Participating in the motion, Chief Opposition Whip Mohan Charan Majhi said illegal drug trafficking was flourishing in Odisha. Many young people fall prey to smuggling due to the incompetence of the state government.

“The state government depends on revenue generated from the authorized sale of excise goods. As a result, Odisha ranks third in the country in terms of dependency,” Majhi said.

In Odisha, 31% of people between the ages of 10 and 75 are addicted to alcohol or other contraband. Smuggling of ganja and brown sugar has increased significantly in the state, Majhi pointed out.

“Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik called on March 23, 2021 for the inclusion of Ahimsa (non-violence) in the preamble of the Indian Constitution and the Odisha Assembly passed a unanimous resolution in this regard. The state government says it was inspired by Gandhi’s ideology, so it should explain why liquor dealers are rewarded for record sales,” the BJP chief whip asked.

The leader of the Congress Legislative Party, Narasingha Mishra, alleged that the excise department was involved in top-down corruption. The illegal brewing of alcohol is also on the rise, he said, adding that exemplary measures should be taken to curb the illegal sale of alcohol and banned drugs.

Congresswoman Tara Prasad Bahinipati alleged that BJD leaders were involved in ganja smuggling. He alleged that drug traffickers participated in BJD meetings.

In response to the query, Excise Minister Aswini Kumar Patra said a total of 3,359 people were arrested for illegal liquor trade in 2021-22, while 1.97 lakh kg of ganja and 61,636 grams of brown sugar were seized during the period. In 11 cases, properties worth Rs 21.09 crore were confiscated, the minister added.

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