Spurt in drug seizures in Goa, CM Pramod Sawant promises action

Chief Minister Pramod Sawant said his government was committed to a ‘drug free’ Goa after legislators from both the ruling and opposition benches alleged that drugs were freely available in the state.

“We want Goa free of drugs. We don’t want drugs, we want good tourism. We want a good future for our children. The government is strict. Drugs won’t be allowed to be sold in Goa,” Sawant said.

It was pointed out to the CM that there has been a huge increase in the number of cases of drug seizure in the state, going up from 54 cases in 2014 to 222 cases in 2018, a growth rate of more than 300%.

“Today, drugs have become common in Goa. Weed (marijuana) has become like cold drink,” Congress legislator Reginaldo Lourenco said.

Ruling party legislator Francisco Silveira said that drugs were being ‘sold openly’. “Everyone knows there are drugs being sold. The police knows it. Drugs are being sold in colleges and schools. Police are not responding to complaints,” Silveira said.

“School and college students are heading for the hills to consume drugs now. If the police are informed about it, they tip off the students who slip away from the area before the cops arrive,” Silveira added.

Chief minister Sawant said that anyone with information about drugs can approach the anti- narcotics cell or the local police. “I assure that will be a raid. This is a 100% guarantee,” he said.

He conceded that the Goa State Forensic Science Laboratory was ill equipped for drug tests forcing the government to rely upon the Central Forensic Science Laboratory at Hyderabad.

“We have a narcotics laboratory in Verna. That laboratory has limitations. There are only three to four tests that are done there. There are many drugs, be it heroin or anything else, if we have to test these drugs then it (the laboratory) will have to be upgraded. The home department has already moved a proposal. I feel we will be able to do the upgradation within the next six months,” Sawant added.

First Published:
Jul 16, 2019 18:05 IST

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