Gangtok: Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla urged elected representatives to undertake ‘Jan Andolan’ in their respective states to collectively eradicate drug abuse in India. Referring to the extensive international borders of the North Eastern states and the hilly terrain, Birla highlighted how ‘North East States to be at high risk of drug trafficking’.
During his valedictory address of the two-day 19th annual conference of Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) India zone-III at Sikkim Legislative Assembly, Gangtok on Friday, Birla stated, “Drug abuse is a matter of national concern and this was discussed in detail at this conference. State governments should prepare action plans to curb drug abuse and peddling in their respective States. If needed, we will make stronger laws. The legislators and parliamentarians must initiate ‘Jan Andolan’ against drug abuse with the active participation of the public and stakeholders.”
Taking the North East into account, Birla highlighted how ‘the international borders of the North East are at high risk of drug trafficking’. Drug abuse is a national problem. It is a borderless crime, which makes the problem exceptionally challenging. There is an urgent need for coordination, not only among all the drug law enforcement and intelligence agencies but also among all border districts and states of the region to tackle the drug menace. All democratic institutions including the urban local bodies and rural local bodies initiate result-oriented steps to generate mass awareness of the ill-effects of substance abuse. Concerned national and international agencies are working to stop cross-border drug trafficking.”
The conference saw discussions on three topics – making Parliament and Assembly more accessible to the public/citizen; drug abuse and the way forward; and cyberbullying.
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Birla observed that all these three topics are very relevant in the context of all the North Eastern States and have been discussed at length during the Conference. On the topic ‘Making Parliament and Legislatures more accessible to the public’, Birla said, “In today’s era technology is changing rapidly, work is going on in Parliament on an ambitious ‘Digital Parliament Project’, the main objective of which is to make the functioning of Parliament more accessible to the people and to make it an effective interface between lawmakers and citizens.”
On cyber-bullying, Birla praised the Assam government’s U-Report, an interactive digital tool for online safety, and called for similar initiatives to be implemented in other states.
Governor Lakshman Prasad Acharya was the chief guest for the valedictory session also attended by Chief Minister P.S. Golay, Sikkim Legislative Assembly Speaker Arun Upreti, Rajya Sabha deputy chairman Harivansh Singh, CPA India Region Zone-III President Pasang D. Sona, along with speakers, parliamentarians and legislators from various States.
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