AAP MLAs urge Punjab govt to allow poppy cultivation, opening of opium vends

AAP MLAs urge Punjab govt to allow poppy cultivation, opening of opium vends

Chandigarh | Aam Aadmi Party MLA Harmit Singh Pathanmajra on Thursday batted for allowing poppy cultivation in Punjab to "curb" the synthetic drugs menace but the state government said it does not have any intention to do so.

During the Question Hour in the ongoing budget session of the Punjab Assembly, Sanour MLA Pathanmajra asked whether the state government intends to cultivate poppy in Punjab to curb synthetic drugs.

However, Punjab Agriculture Minister Gurmeet Singh Khuddian replied that the state government does not intend to cultivate poppy in the state as it is also a form of drug.

Pathanmajra stated that because of synthetic drugs, over 400 people lost their lives from 2020 till now.

The ruling AAP legislator said the cultivation of poppy is taking place in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh while it is going to start in Himachal Pradesh as well. He also said poppy cultivation will lead to an increase in revenue for the state.

The MLA said if the government cannot allow the cultivation of poppy, then it should allow the opening of opium vends in the state in order to "save the state's youths from synthetic drugs".

Later during the Zero Hour, AAP MLA Manjit Singh Bilaspur supported Pathanmajra's view, saying synthetic drugs have been a major problem of the state for the past 15 years.

He said that he has seen many families in which youths got addicted to synthetic drugs.

He claimed that in the past, there was "never any death" reported because of the consumption of poppy or opium.

"The government should consider cultivation of poppy," Bilaspur said.

Another party MLA Kulwant Singh Bazigar also supported the demand for allowing cultivation of poppy in the state.

Speaker Kultar Singh Sandhwan said there used to be opium vends in the state earlier and sought to know when they were shut.

AAP MLA Fauja Singh Sarari said when Giani Zail Singh was the Punjab chief minister, he got a notification issued for shutting the opium vends in the state.

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