Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb today said his government has seized 20,000 kg of ganja in just four months, and accused his predecessor Manik Sarkar of the CPI(M) of doing precious little to stop production of the drug in the state.
The CPI(M) which ruled the state for 25 years before the BJP-IPFT combine came to power in March, however, denied the charge.
“Twenty thousand kg of ganja was seized during the last four months. Over 100 people were arrested,” Deb told reporters at Nripendranagar tea estate.
Tripura produced 1 lakh kg cannabis every year during the rule of the erstwhile Left Front government, Deb said.
“People can never forgive him (Manik Sarkar). I shall never forgive him. He is senior to me in age. But he did not take any action to stop the rise of drug and cannabis business in Tripura,” the chief minister said.
The issue was raised in the state assembly many times but Sarkar always said he was not aware of it, Deb said.
He claimed that Dhanpur, Sarkar’s home constituency, is known for producing highest amount of ganja every year.
When contacted, CPI(M) State Secretary and Central Committee member Bijan Dhar denied that the Manik Sarkar government did not do anything against this menace.
“If it is alleged that Manik Sarkar had allowed cannabis production to go on, I can only say that the present chief minister has been addicted to it,” Dhar said.
Police sources said ganja is produced mainly in Sipahijala and West Tripura districts and its plants have been destroyed and burnt many times in the past.
Ganja is generally smuggled to Bangladesh through its 856 km long border with the state, the sources said.
Deb said his government was contemplating to introduce a new law so that people involved with drug trade cannot get out of jail.
He said 265 acre of land was identified near Nripendranagar tea estate for setting up a unit of All India Institutes of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) here.