Akalis hail PGI study, Cong says it may be influenced

Chandigarh, September 11: The latest survey on the extent of drug addiction in Punjab by the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research Chandigarh (PGIMER) has the Shiromani Akali Dal and the Aam Aadmi Party at loggerheads, while the Congress maintained whatever the extent of problem could be, its drive against drugs would continue.

While the Akalis have been maintaining for long that the drug menace issue was overplayed on political considerations over the past several years, the AAP has rejected the survey report.

State Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) convener Bhagwant Mann tore into the survey figures that claimed less than 1 per cent of Punjabis were hooked on opiates, saying it was a farce. “The survey teams should accompany me to villages where almost all men are addicts. I wonder why the government opened drug de-addiction centres across the state, if the problem was not serious,” said Mann.

SAD president Sukhbir Badal said, “The latest survey listing drug addiction in Punjab at less than 1 per cent has yet again nailed the lie of Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi and exposed the conspiracy of anti-Punjab forces that maligned the state and its people for their petty political goals.”He said the survey carried out in all 22 districts had exposed the anti-Punjab conspiracy of Rahul Gandhi and his team as well as that of AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal. “Both leaders and their parties should now tell Punjabis why they branded them as drug addicts. They should tender an unconditional apology to the people of the state,” he said.Speaking about AAP, he said Kejriwal and his gang of outsiders had also tried to doom the future of the youth by claiming 40 lakh of them were drug addicts. “The PGIMER report today puts the number of addicts in the state at 2.7 lakh. Other reports, including one by AIIMS, have come out with even lower figures,” he said.

State Congress president Sunil Jakhar said he was yet to see details of the survey, but even the figure of 2.7 lakh was no less. “Our campaign against drugs will continue. It is good if there are fewer addicts in the state. But keep in mind that the SAD-BJP government is in power at the Centre and it can influence the survey,” he added.

News Source: http://www.tribuneindia.com