Amarinder backs Sidhu for legalising opium cultivation
Chandigarh (Punjab) , Oct 01 : Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Monday came out in support of his minister Navjot Singh Sidhu for demanding legalisation of opium cultivation, sale and consumption.
The Punjab Chief Minister further voiced hope that the issue would be reviewed seriously for the matter to be resolved once and for all.
"We have been clamouring for this ever since my last tenure from 2002 to 2007. I took this matter to the Prime Minister, I raised it in the Chief Minister's conference, saying that India has to have a drugs policy," said Amarinder.
Singh's reaction came after Sidhu backed suspended Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Dharamvir Gandhi's demand for legalising opium production for sale and consumption.
"Dharamvir Gandhi is doing a very good thing, I support him. My uncle used to take opium as a medicine and lived a long life," Sidhu had said on being asked about Dharamvir Gandhi's demand.
Supporting his stand, Amarinder said, "There has to be a strict drugs policy to impose a ban on these drugs in the country and whatever is required for the pharmaceuticals industry. But letting it being grown by the states, we know how it leaks from the state and comes back through the lucrative market."
In July, Amarinder Singh had ordered a mandatory dope test for all government employees, as part of a slew of measures taken to eliminate drug menace from Punjab.
The orders came when the Punjab Chief Minister formally communicated his cabinet's recommendation to the Centre, seeking an amendment to the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act to provide death penalty to those guilty, including first-time offenders.