Chandigarh, April 16 IANS | 7 months ago

The run-up to the parliamentary election in Punjab is taking the state to a new high. Security agencies have seized drugs and other intoxicants worth nearly Rs.700 crore in the last 40 days.

Of this seizure, heroin alone accounts for over Rs.680 crore.

Most of the recovery has been made by Border Security Force (BSF) troopers along the 55-km-long barbed wire fenced Pakistan border in Punjab.

The seizures include over 136 kg of heroin, 14,823 kg of poppy husk, 76.2 kg of opium, and 51,623 kg of lahan.

"Till date, narcotic drugs, including liquor, worth Rs.694 crore have been recovered in the state after the imposition of the model code of conduct. Majority of it includes huge haul of heroin at the Indo-Pak border," Punjab's additional chief electoral officer (CEO) B. Purushartha said Wednesday.

The model code of conduct came into force March 5.

Purushartha said strict vigil was being kept to curb supply of drugs and intoxicants in Punjab during election time.

The authorities have also recovered over 2.15 lakh litres of illicit liquor and over 2.73 lakh bottles of country-made liquor from across Punjab.

Over 30 lakh capsules and tablets, used as intoxicants, have also been recovered in the past nearly six weeks.

Police have registered 2,309 cases in this regard.

Over 2.25 lakh licenced weapons have been deposited by owners with the authorities.

Punjab's 13 Lok Sabha seats go to the polls April 30. As many as 253 candidates are in the fray.

The biggest contest is in the Amritsar Lok Sabha seat between senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley and former chief minister and Congress leader Amarinder Singh.

The BJP dumped sitting MP, cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu, to field Jaitley from Amritsar.

Sidhu, who had major differences on Amritsar's development issues with Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Badal, has not even come to Amritsar for campaigning despite being the sitting MP. He was the lone BJP MP from Punjab.

Other big contests in Punjab will be in Bathinda and Gurdaspur. In Bathinda, Harsimrat Badal, wife of Sukhbir Badal, is being challenged by Parkash Singh Badal's estranged nephew and former finance minister Manpreet Badal.

In Gurdaspur, incumbent Congress MP and state Congress chief Pratap Singh Bajwa is being challenged by BJP candidate and actor Vinod Khanna, who has thrice represented the constituency.

(Posted on 16-04-2014)

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