Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala government on Wednesday (October 30) urged the Centre to bring necessary amendments in the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act to ensure stringent punishment to those involved in drug usage and trafficking.

NDPS Act is an Act that prohibits a person to produce, manufacture, cultivate, possess, sell, purchase, transport, store, and/or consume any narcotic drug or psychotropic substance.

 Excise minister TP Ramakrishnan, replying to a question in the Assembly said the state had already sent letters to the Centre and met respective Union ministers with the request to amend the Act. "The present NDPS Act has several limitations. That's why, we have asked the Centre to amend the Act. We want those who possess the contraband substance to get maximum punishment," he said.

The minister added that the situation in which such culprits get bail easily should be avoided. Ramakrishnan said a total of 21,363 cases had been registered under the NDPS Act in the state after the CPI(M)-led LDF government came to power three years ago. "It was against the 4,880 cases registered during the five-year tenure of the previous Congress-led UDF government," he added.

"While the UDF government had registered 11,602 cases under the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (COTPA) Act, the present Left government has registered over 2.42 lakh cases so far in this regard. Enforcement and awareness drives had been strengthened in the state to reduce consumption of drugs and other contraband substances among people," he said.

With PTI inputs