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Agartala: The Tripura government will draw the attention of the Center to tighten the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act to make Tripura drug-free, Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb assured in the Assembly here on Tuesday.

On the third day of the budget session in the Tripura Legislative Assembly, Chief Minister and Home Minister Biplab Kumar Deb stated this in response to a notice raised by MLA Sudip Roy Barman asking the Tripura government to draw the attention of the concerned ministries to make the NDPS Act more stringent to make Tripura drug-free.

Deb, in his response, said that after the formation of the new government in Tripura in 2018, the aim was to make the state “drug-free Tripura”. On this basis, various anti-drug operations were intensified in Tripura, in which large quantities of illegal cannabis, phensedyl, tablets, heroin, etc. were seized and the accused persons, associates and drug traffickers were arrested in connection with the case.

“There was a lot of evidence that illegal trade in various drugs was rampant in the border areas of the state. Attempts were made to create a volatile environment in the society by spreading the drug among the people of all sections of the society including school and college students,” Deb said.

He said that the government of Tripura began the proper implementation of the NDPS Act 1985 and the Prevention of Illicit Traffic in Narcotic and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1988 which led to the identification and arrest and detention of illicit drug traffickers, collaborators and those who normally control the drug trade from behind the scenes.

The chief minister claimed that with the help of the State Police Narcotics Control Bureau to build a drug-free Tripura, they have been able to carry out many successful operations against drug traffickers who are dealing in illegal items like cannabis, phensedyl, tablets, heroin.

Moreover, another central agency, the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI), works against the smuggling of illegal drugs in the state. He said illegal drugs are a national joint venture between the DRI and the state police. Successful campaigns have been launched against the sale and smuggling.

The chief minister said that NDPS Act 1985 and the PIT NDPS Act 1988 are special laws and proper training of field level officers and supervisory level officers has been arranged in Tripura and outside Tripura with the help of the central agency for proper implementation of the provisions of this Act.

He claimed that the central government has also taken overall steps to control all narcotics.

Also read: Two Tripura farmers held by Bangladesh for smuggling drugs

“Seminars and training programs have been conducted in the presence of representatives from the Northeast, various Central Forces, neighbouring countries such as Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Maldives and UN officials. It has found benefits in anti-drug activities,” Deb added.

The Chief Minister also said that in December 2019, the Bureau of Narcotics Control held a seminar in Agartala in the presence of representatives from the centre and Northeast.

The seminar lauded the steps taken by the Tripura Police in enforcing Section 3 of the PIT NDPS Act 1988 against drug traffickers and confiscating property from those involved in drug trafficking.

Further seeking a counter-explanation from the chief minister, former health minister and BJP MLA, Sudip Roy Barman said that it was necessary to amend Section 21 (A) of the NDPS Act, 1975 and Section 11 of the PIT NDPS Act, 1988 because the law is not strict and the criminals are getting bail and continue their illegal business.

He said that Section 21 (a) and 27 of the NDPS Act 1985 disqualifies bail and section 11 of the PIT NDPS Act 1988 should provide 2 years imprisonment.

“It is necessary to amend the law by sending a proposal to the Center,” Roy Barman added.

Roy Barman also stated that there is a special need to set up drug rehabilitation centres across Tripura to save the youth from the path of destruction.

In response to this, the chief minister said that since the change of government in Tripura, the number of cases has increased along with the number of arrests.

He claimed that in 2017, there were 83 cases of illegal drug trafficking and 65 people were arrested by the police. In comparison, after the change of government, a total of 433 cases were registered in 2018 and 660 people were arrested by the police.

The chief minister said that drugs were entering Tripura from neighbouring states and countries.

As a necessary step in this regard, Union Home Minister Amit Shah has given a detailed speech at the recent meeting of the North-East Council.

“The goal is to make the North East drug-free by December 2022,” Deb added.

He assured the assembly that the issue of tightening the law would be taken up by the Center. Besides, the Union Minister for Social Welfare has recently announced the setting up of a rehabilitation centre in Tripura.

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