The availability of drugs in Punjab has become "very little" due to several "pro-active" measures taken by the state government, including arrest of 145 kingpins of the trade and action against 24 policemen, Deputy Chief Minister Skhbir Singh Badal said today.
Talking to reporters here, Badal gave a clean chit to Cabinet Minister Bikram Singh Majithia and former minister Swaran Singh Phillaur, whose names cropped up in drug trade, claiming there was "no evidence" of their involvement.
"The availability of drugs has become very little in Punjab," said Sukhbir, who also holds the Home portfolio.
Sukhbir said the state government had started a "war against drugs" two years ago and taken several "pro-active" measures.
A Punjab State Narcotics Control Bureau has been constituted which identifies all persons committing offences under the NDPS Act and ensures action against them, he said.
It is headed by IGP Ishwar Singh who has been given a free hand to choose his team. The bureau is "independent" of Punjab Police and had been granted full autonomy.
Besides, the state government has urged the high court to set up fast-track courts to handle drug-related cases, he said, adding that the courts had been urged to confiscate properties of drug lords.
Claiming that the drugs are not manufactured in Punjab, he said, "Punjab is an international transit route for flow of drugs from Pakistan and Jammu and Kashmir." "Most of the drug inflow in Punjab is from Pakistan...its an organised crime with international connections," Sukhbir said.
He said in the past two years, 27,000 people and some BSF personnel involved in drug-related activities have been held.
He said there were some 200 drug kingpins, out of which around 145 had been arrested. He said police have seized 61 lakh capsules of various drugs in 2011, 1.14 crore in 2012 and 3.65 crore in 2013.
Rejecting opposition Congress' claim that drug peddlers had political patronage, he said, "Whosoever he may be, if found involved in drug trade, he will be taken to task." He said 24 police personnel, including one of the rank of DSP, have been caught for their involvement in drug trade and strict action is being taken against them.
A centralised toll-free number 181 has been created for public to provide information about the trade, he added.