Goa's rolling hill slopes and restaurants are the new narcotics consumption hubs in Goa, Opposition and ruling party MLAs claimed on Tuesday during the ongoing monsoon session of the state Legislative Assembly.
Speaking in the Assembly, BJP MLA Francis Silveira said that the rolling hillsides in his constituency of St. Andre have become the new hubs for consumption of narcotics and claimed that the police were in cahoots with drug users, who are essentially school and college students.
"Everyone knows there are drugs being sold. The police know it. Drugs are being sold in colleges and schools. Police are not responding to complaints," Silveira said.
"School and college students are heading to 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 said.
In his reply, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant said that he would order the police to arrest any person who is seen in the forest and hilly areas after sunset.
Congress MLA Aleixo Reginaldo during the same discussion claimed that a popular restaurant in Anjuna village in North Goa offered a table full of narcotics cocktails for a booking amount of Rs 70,000.
"What is going on? Restaurants are openly offering drugs like this. Why is the police force not acting," Reginaldo said.
The Chief Minister subsequently said that the police and his administration were committed to end the drug menace in Goa and urged alert citizens to call the police if they suspect drug sale or consumption in their vicinity.
"We want to make Goa drug free. We want good tourism and a good future for youth. The government is strict on this," Sawant said.
Goa is a popular beach tourism destination, but is also known as a narco-tourism hub, because of the easy availability of drugs, especially in the state's coastal belt.