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In the Udta Punjab tussle, let us not forget Punjab's drug problem

By Vicky

There is a raging controversy over the censorship of the movie Udta Punjab directed by Anurag Kashyap. The censor board wants several cuts which is the director has cribbed about stating that it would change the narrative of the movie.

The references to Punjab is one of the many cuts that the censor board wants omitted from the movie. [Will eradicate drugs problem from Punjab: Rahul Gandhi]

Udta Punjab

While this debate over the censor boards activism rages on, there is one thing let us all bear in mind. Punjab does have a severe drug problem and not talking about it is not going to solve the problem. Not only is it ruining the youth, but it has been economy buster apart from being a terror funder as well.

[Rahul Gandhi defaming Punjab youths by calling them drug addicts: SAD]

Killing the youth:

The easy availability of drugs in Punjab has led to several youth getting addicted. Unofficial statistics would reveal that at least 3 out of every 10 persons in Punjab are addicted to drugs.

The synthetic drugs and the poppy husk or bhukki are the most preferred drugs. Around 15 per cent are addicted to bhukki while 25 rely on synthetic drugs.

[Udta Punjab: AAP, Congress accuse SAD-BJP of influencing Censor Board]

The problem is the easy availability of drugs. The police too do not take harsh action since the mafia does have the blessings of politicians. The easy availability has led to a major problem and there are a considerable number of people in the age group of 12 to 15 who are addicted.

Combating the drug problem along the border has not been up to the mark. A large quantity of heroin is smuggled directed from Afghanistan into Punjab. This is in fact considered to be one of the major transit route for drugs.

A study that was conducted by the Guru Nanak Dev University had revealed that nearly 70 per cent of the men living along the border may be addicted to drugs due to the easy availability.

This has been a poll issue with parties hurling charges against each other. The present government in Punjab has been under fire from the opposition for patronising the drug mafia, a charge that has been denied. There have been a host of measures to curb the drug mafia, but in order to complete route out the problem, the efforts need to be much more.

The 60,000 crore industry:

A large chunk of the drugs produced in Afghanistan is routed into Punjab before it makes its way into other parts of the country. The date rape drug, cocaine, brown sugar just to name a few are the drugs in high demand.

[Terror funding: Punjab's drug mafia alone is worth Rs 60,000 crore]

A report by the UN states that the total potential value of Afghanistan's 2006 opium harvest accruiing to farmers, laboratory owners and Afghan traffickers reached about $3.1 billion.

The drug mafia in Punjab relies on the drugs produced in Afghanistan. Unless and until they share their proceeds with Pakistan and their agents, the drugs will not flow out of Afghanistan. Historically, Afghanistan has been a major source of heroin throughout the world.

According to the UN's World Drug Report 2007, the total potential value of Afghanistan's 2006 opium harvest accruiing to farmers, laboratory owners and Afghan traffickers reached about $3.1 billion.

[Terrorism and the drug mafia: How they go hand in hand]

In addition, it is reported that in 2004, some 400 tons of cocaine was exported from one Latin American country, with an estimated domestic value of $2 billion.

How much of this money is used for perpetrating acts of terrorism? Estimates vary. But even a small percentage would be more than sufficient for some individuals or groups to plan, finance and carry out terrorist acts.

[Drug addiction in Punjab is national problem: Badal]

Indeeed drug trafficking has provided funding for insurgency and those who use terrorist violence in various regions throughout the world, including in transit regions.

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