Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Sunday announced that hookah lounges will not be allowed to function in the state and will be bulldozed, if necessary, and strictest action possible will be taken against people involved in illegal drug businesses.
The chief minister was speaking at the launch of a de-addiction campaign in the state to mark the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, in the presence of former Union Minister Uma Bharti, who has been demanding total prohibition in Madhya Pradesh.
The campaign will continue till November 30. Now, places like hookah lounges will not be allowed to operate in Madhya Pradesh and they will be bulldozed, if needed, Chouhan said.
He further said that the white drug being sold near colleges and schools was ruining the lives of youngsters and pushing them towards addiction. The state government has resolved to take strict action against people involved in sale and trafficking of drugs, and it will leave no stone unturned to make the society drug free, Chouhan said. People present at the launch took a pledge to make Madhya Pradesh addiction free.
Activities to create awareness about de-addiction will be conducted in every town and village during this campaign, the chief minister said. Chouhan also said that an excise policy will be formulated to control the use of alcohol.
Sports and yoga activities will be expanded across the state to steer youngsters away from drugs, he said. The state government, along with religious leaders and society, will conduct activities to make a drug-free state. Efforts will be taken in collaboration with organisations working for de-addiction, he said.
Speaking on the occasion, Uma Bharti said that the country became independent when the freedom struggle became a mass movement, and similarly, the de-addiction drive should be given the shape of a mass movement to get rid of drugs and alcohol. The government and society should play their respective roles for this. The state government will have to make efforts to implement the system of controlled liquor distribution, the former chief minister said, while terming Chouhan a social reformer. Yoga guru Baba Ramdev and Union Minister Virendra Kumar also addressed the gathering. Before attending the campaign launch, Uma Bharti led a march from a temple in Somwara area here with women who had arrived from different cities, and pledged to end addiction.
Later, she garlanded the statue of Mahatma Gandhi at the campus of Kushabhau Thakre Convention Centre.