Punjab jails minister Sarwan Singh Phillaur on Wednesday expressed concern over the nexus between drug peddlers and prisoners in the state, adding that his department was taking measures to tackle the menace.
"The state government has decided to empower superintendents of jails to search prisoners and conduct criminal proceedings under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act against the culprits," the minister said here.
He said the matter was being taken up with the chief minister before the final implementation of such decisions.
Phillaur said he had also asked officers to conduct extensive search operations in prisons, adding that officers confiscating the maximum objectionable stuff such as drugs and gadgets such as cell phones would be honoured.
Reiterating that the state government had formulated a master plan of Rs 300 crore for the overall development of prisons, he said the proposed construction of new sub-jails at the divisional and district levels would be part of this plan.
He said the prisons department would come with three new jails - one each at Amritsar, Bathinda and Muktsar to overcome the problem of overcrowding.
Phillaur said presently there were 25,219 prisoners against the present capacity of 18,406.
The master plan would be implemented over the next four years, he added.