Captain Amarinder Singh, Congress deputy leader in the Lok Sabha, on Friday questioned the official figure of 3 lakh drug addicts in Punjab that the state government has given to the Punjab and Haryana high court in an affidavit recently. He said the number contradicted with the figure of more than 6 lakh submitted under the Right to Information (RTI) Act.
"The government affidavit does not seem to reflect the reality, both in medical terms as well as the figures it has submitted to the high court," Amarinder claimed in a statement issued here. He also claimed gross contradictions in what the government had submitted to the high court recently and what it had disclosed in response to the RTI query on the issue around the same time. "I appeal to the high court to verify, as it seems that they (the government) are trying to mislead the court," he stated.
Challenging the official claims about providing treatment to drug addicts, he said these defied medical practices and procedures, and were suspect and doubtful. "Normally, the addicts are admitted and kept indoors for varying periods running into months together," he pointed out. He requested the high court to ask the government how many drug rehabilitation centres it had opened and what medical facilities were being provided therein.
He claimed to have information that there were only 20 psychiatrists in all of Punjab, far fewer than the number of addicts in the state. He also decried the state government for having combined rehabilitation and de-addiction centres in its general hospitals.