Panaji: Drunken and narcotics-induced revelry and drunken driving will be on the radar of the Goa Police during the New Year festivities in the coastal state, state Deputy Inspector General Parmaditya said on Tuesday.
District police officials have been directed to beef up police presence in areas, which are likely to see high footfalls, especially in the coastal belt, which sees the presence of hundreds of thousands of tourists, especially during New Year eve festivities, he told reporters here.
“We are issuing an advisory for tourists. Goa is a happening tourist destination. But they should please ensure that they enjoy responsibly. And remember that consuming drugs or alcohol may result in legal action,” Parmaditya said, adding that instructions had been issued to all police personnel on duty to crack down on drugs or alcohol-induced public revelry.
“We have also issued a traffic advisory to avoid congestion. Strict legal action will be taken against drunken driving. The Anti-Narcotics Squad has also been directed to keep an eye on drug trade or consumption,” Parmaditya said.
He also said that police personnel attached to the North and the South District wings of the state police had been directed to beef up the presence of uniformed personnel in public places.
“Special Branch teams have also been deployed in the coastal belt to gather intelligence,” Parmaditya also said.
Well-known as a beach and nightlife tourism destination, Goa witnesses peak tourist footfalls in the festive season leading up to New Year, during which hundreds of thousands of tourists arrive in the coastal state. Last year, Goa attracted more than seven million tourists.
‘Drugs are not freely available in Goa’
Amid the mysterious death of three youngsters at an EDM festival in Goa last week, Inspector General of Police Jaspal Singh on Tuesday said, that drugs are not freely available in Goa, as is being alleged by the Opposition.
Speaking to reporters in Panaji, Singh said, that the Goa Police followed a zero-tolerance policy vis a vis drugs.
Commenting on the investigation into the death of three youngsters — two tourists from Andhra Pradesh died on Friday (Dec 27) and one from Bengaluru died on Sunday (Dec 29) — at the Sunburn Klassique EDM festival, Singh said that it was not possible to form a preliminary opinion on the deaths.
“The post-mortem has been conducted and it is not possible to give a preliminary comment. Only after we get the viscera report, we can reach a conclusion, as to why the deaths occurred,” Singh said.
Responding to criticism from the Opposition, which has claimed that drugs were easily available in the coastal state, Singh said: “It will not be right to blame (police). Whenever we get information, we act on it and we make an arrest. To say that it is freely available is not right”.
“In 2019, we have acted against a lot of peddlers. Rs 3 crore worth of drugs was seized in Calangute recently from a foreign national. It is clear that our policy towards drugs is zero tolerance. On Monday, a Portuguese national was also arrested from whom we seized drugs worth Rs 24 lakh. This is testimony to our zero-tolerance policy,” Singh said.
The senior police official’s comments come at a time when the police are facing flak over the death of the three tourists at the EDM festival. The Opposition has also demanded the resignation of Tourism Minister Manohar Ajgaonkar over the death of the three tourists at a music festival actively backed by the Tourism Ministry.