Crackdown on drugs in Punjab: 485 arrests, 387 cases registered in 10 days

Chandigarh: In a multi-state agency operation, as many as 485 drugs traders and peddlers have been arrested and 387 cases registered under the NDPS Act as part of the Captain Amarinder Singh led government’s crackdown on drugs in Punjab.

SHO level teams, backed by CIA and Anti-Narcotics Cell units, have been formed in every district to implement the government’s campaign to wipe out drugs from the state in four weeks, a spokesperson of the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) disclosed here on Tuesday. State Special Operations (SSOP) cells have also joined the drive, which has led to major drugs seizures across the state, said the spokesperson, adding that the civil administration was also extending its full support to the anti-drugs campaign by the various police and intelligence agencies.

The Chief Minister has directed the state agencies to coordinate with central agencies such as the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) and the Customs Department to check the supply and smuggling of drugs into the state from other parts of India and abroad, said the spokesperson.

A Special Task Force (STF) has already been set up to steer the special and focused drive launched against drugs, especially ‘chitta’ (heroin, synthetic/ pharmaceutical drugs), on the directives of the Chief Minister.

The spokesperson revealed that in the period between March 16 (the day the new government was installed in the state) and March 27, a total of 3.945 kgs of Heroin was recovered during raids by the special teams constituted as part of the campaign. This includes 1 kg of Heroin seized by the BSF.

Other drugs seizures made during this period include poppy husk (622.555 kgs), smack (0.528 kgs), charas (2.22 kgs), opium (24.39 kgs), bhang (1.879 kgs) and ganja (65.6 kgs). The special teams have also recovered 133 bottles of syrup, 1075 injections and 90993 capsules/pills packed with drugs, besides 11.224 kg of Intoxicant Powder during the said period, added the spokesperson.

The maximum of 63 cases have been registered in Jalandhar Rural district, from where the maximum recovery of 7.25 kgs of opium, besides 1 kg recovery of heroin by BSF at the border, has also been reported.

The Jalandhar police has launched its own helpline number while appealing to members of the public to come forward with any information on drugs smuggling and supply.  All police stations have been directed to make lists of drug peddlers and bootleggers with more than two FIRs registered against them in the past 10 years and these people will be kept under surveillance.

The CMO has been requested to attach one drugs inspector permanently with the Police Commissionerate to help in the conduct of raids to check misuse of authorized medicines in Jalandhar.

Senior police officers are personally monitoring the action on this front, with the Chief Minister himself seeking daily reports on the issue. The Special Task Force (STF) set up for drugs eradication in the state is working directly under the supervision of the Chief Minister, who has given a free hand to ADGP Harpreet Sidhu, who heads the STF, to take any action needed to free the state of this menace.

The Chief Minister has directed the police, whose performance will be judged on the efficacy of the anti-drugs campaign, to go after the big guns. The special teams set up to implement the drive have been directed to seize/attach properties of smugglers under Section 68 of the NDPS Act and SAFEMA, Govt. of India.

Seminars and educational programmes in schools and colleges, along with nukkad nataks and road shows/rallies, are being conducted to create awareness about the drugs menace while the deaddiction centres, which had become defunct under the previous government, are being reactivated. A holistic approach has been adopted to synergise the deaddiction and rehabilitation activities.

A massive publicity and awareness campaign is also being launched on various media platforms, with educational institutions, NGOs, youth clubs and Nehru Yuva Kendras joining the government efforts to wipe out the drugs scourge from the state.