Goa trade forum seeks action against drugs trade, prostitution

January 22nd, 2011 - 6:43 pm ICT by IANS  

Sonia Gandhi Panaji, Jan 22 (IANS) After students groups, opposition and the media, the captains of industry in Goa have now asked the government to act against rampant drug trade and prostitution in the tourism-oriented state. Identifying crimes related to drugs and prostitution as areas of prime concern, the Goa Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) in a pre-budget memorandum submitted to Chief Minister Digambar Kamat Saturday has said these issues were “tarnishing the image of the state”.

The GCCI has identified “deteriorating law and order situation, drugs, prostitution and related crime, rising level of corruption and environmental degradation,” as areas for concern which cast a shadow on the image of Goa and, therefore, its investment climate.

“We would like to sound a note of caution in respect of the above and expect the government to take effective steps to curb these ills and assure (the) chamber’s fullest cooperation on this front,” GCCI vice president Manguirish Pai Raikar said in the memorandum.

The state government’s inability to act against the drug mafia in Goa and the failure of the Congress high command to pull up the erring ministers involved in allegedly sheltering the trade, has been reported in the media here virtually everyday.

Home Minister Ravi Naik’s son Roy has been already linked to the drug mafia by a Swedish model and a former girlfriend of an Israeli drug dealer Yaniv Benaim alias Atala. Seven policemen were suspended, arrested and later released on bail last year following the model Lucky Farmhouse’s revelations.

Two weeks back, another sting operation conducted by the kin of yet another Israeli drug dealer showed a police sub-inspector attached to an elite anti-narcotics unit of the state police selling drugs to foreign nationals.

The Panaji bench of the Bombay High court is hearing a petition filed by a National Students Union of India (NSUI) official, who has sought a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the drug mafia-politician nexus.

The opposition has already demanded that Naik should be stripped of his portfolio, a demand which was rejected by the Congress high command Friday. It said that the drug nexus issue was nothing special.

“It is not restricted to Goa alone. It is there in many states,” Congress general secretary in charge of Goa B.K. Hariprasad told reporters here Friday. The chief minister had not sent any report about drug trade in Goa to the party chief Sonia Gandhi, he added.

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