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Tripura: Increasing drugs addiction is biggest challenge for state, says Congress MLA Sudip Roy

Tripura: Increasing drugs addiction is biggest challenge for state, says Congress MLA Sudip Roy

Barman the former Health Minister of the state who resigned from BJP and a few months back and won the by-election with a Congress ticket said that to available statistical data in 2018-19, in Tripura, there were a total of 795 injectable drug users in the state and among them, 33 were identified HIV positive.

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Tripura: Senior Congress MLA Sudip Roy Barman Tripura: Senior Congress MLA Sudip Roy Barman

Senior Congress MLA Sudip Roy Barman on September 26 said that increasing drug addiction is the biggest challenge for Tripura and a generation is at the threshold of death.

Expressing his concern over the same, Barman said, ''We have to save them. The drug is no more a health issue but a social menace and also a law and order problem. Several influential persons are involved with drugs”.

“According to the latest report of the Tripura State AIDS Control Society (TSACS) out of a survey conducted in 57 educational institutions including 47 schools and 10 colleges in lone West Tripura district some 193 students have been identified as injectable drugs users and among them are 62 HIV positive. Out of the total 193 injectable drug users, 138 are school students while 55 are from colleges,” he added.

Barman the former Health Minister of the state who resigned from BJP and a few months back and won the by-election with a Congress ticket said that to available statistical data in 2018-19, in Tripura, there were a total of 795 injectable drug users in the state and among them, 33 were identified HIV positive.

''However, till July 2022 the number of identified injectable drug users in Tripura has increased to 4788 while the number of HIV positive has gone up to 357,” he said.

Barman further said that the state government had declared drug-free Tripura or set Nashamukt Tripura slogans but the statistics speak just the opposite and these slogans are not effective.

He also urged that, forgetting their political ideology, all leaders should come forward and save the youths of the state from the clutches of drugs.

“We all know who the kingpins of drugs are in the state of Tripura, who are the identified drug paddlers. The drugs are entering from the Myanmar border and through the Tripura crossing to Bangladesh. Now the question is despite the identification of these drug paddlers who even don’t hesitate to run a car over a sub-inspector and murder him but not being arrested, this gives the clear message that Tripura is one of the safest heavens where you can paddle drugs across the border. I have given a small statistic of a few institutions in West Tripura but the fact of the matter is that there is not a single locality in Tripura where the younger generation is not becoming a victim of drugs, mothers are losing their children because despite all the anti-drugs initiatives are not result oriented,” said Roy Barman.

He said that the figures reveal that there is a spurt among the drug users in Tripura which is leading to fast-increasing HIV-positive cases.

“I have no intention to gain political mileage out of it, rather save our children from drugs. I have some suggestions and urged the government to form a high committee under the leadership of the Chief Minister where other than police, officials from health, education, representatives of political parties of the state, NGOs working against drugs, members of panchayat raj and urban local bodies and form an action plan take steps at war footing against drugs and their paddlers,'' he avowed.

He also suggested that a separate anti-drug wing may be formed with a separate IG in charge for only implementing the action plan and a TSR battalion may be engaged in the activities.

''It has to be also assured that no political interference will be allowed in the activities of this wing. Along with that there may be a huge awareness campaign against drugs and introduce a chapter against drugs in various classes in schools,'' he added.

He said that he also urged the Chief Minister to form a solid Lokayukta so that a section of police who are engaged with the drug paddlers and the disproportionate properties and assets of these people may be investigated.

''I also urge the government to set up drug de-addiction centres and monitor the private centres,” said the Congress MLA.

Appreciating the suggestions of the MLA the Leader of the House Dr Manik Saha said that several of these suggestions mentioned by him are already in implementation but overnight this problem cannot be solved though this government has good intentions and since 2018 has taken several steps against drugs, which are continuing and getting results.

''It shall take some time to totally irradiate it and together all have to come forward to fight against it,'' he added.