The government is set to introduce a mandatory provision for drug tests during recruitment in government services and for admission of students in colleges and universities to protect youths from the menace of drug addiction.
‘We have decided to make dope tests mandatory during recruitments in the public service. Students will also face similar tests during admission in colleges and universities,’ liberation war affairs minister AKM Mozammel Huq told a press briefing after chairing the 5th meeting of the cabinet committee on law and order at the secretariat on Wednesday.
He said the government was preparing a policy to enforce the decision soon to contain drug abuse which is alarmingly on the rise among the youths.
The head of the cabinet committee said that the meeting decided to declare Dinajpur and Chattogram-Cox’s Bazar as drug-free zones. The local administrations and law enforcement agencies were asked to take necessary measures to free the areas of drug abusers.
A committee led by the public security division secretary of the home affairs ministry would also recommend steps to execute the decision, he added.
‘This is very alarming that youths are getting addicted to drugs. Around 1 per cent of the population is addicted and the number would be roughly around 17/18 lakh and they are mostly youths,’ said Mozamel and went on to add, ‘It is sad that their life span becomes shorter due to substance abuse. Most addicts die within two to four years after getting hooked.’
Additionally, he said that the committee directed the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission to approach the online platforms like Google, YouTube and Facebook and ask them to establish their offices in the country so that the government could hold them accountable for their operation in the country.
‘We do not want to control the media. But many objectionable and perverse contents are found on social media which we cannot allow our youths and small children to access. These contents might lead to perversions. We want to hold the social media operators accountable for their contents,’ said the minister.
He said the National Board of Revenue was also asked to investigate how thousands of crores of takas were paid through illegal means against the advertisements placed on those social media with their headquarters abroad.
Without naming anyone, Mozammel said, some convicts staying aboard were running propaganda against the country and the government on social media.
Home minister Asaduzzaman Khan, industries minister Nurul Majid, Mahmud Humayun, commerce minister Tipu Munshi, state minister for labour and employments Monnujan Sufian and state minister for public administration Farhad Hossain and senior officials from agencies concerned attended the meeting among others at the home ministry.
About the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party’s countrywide protest programmes, Mozammel said the government would not obstruct their political programmes. ‘We will face their political programmes politically,’ he added.
The BNP is protesting at the government move to scrap BNP founder Ziaur Rahman’s Bir Uttam title given for his historic role in the country’s liberation war.
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