Concerted effort: Political parties and society should join hands to wipe out drugs from Punjab. Children should be taught values and their minds diverted towards sports; strict laws should be made to deal with drug dealers. Also, politicians should not distribute liquor and drugs during elections to lure voters, feel leaders.
Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, SAD Rajya Sabha MP
Centre has a big role to play
It is a serious problem, especially when drugs are an age-old phenomenon not only in Punjab but in entire north India. The issue is in limelight as it is getting beyond control and every household is getting affected, which is destroying the social fabric of the state.
Our government is trying to control it. In the past two years, smugglers and consumers have been nabbed and de-addiction centres opened. The Centre has a big role to play. We should have uniform law in all states. The BSF should be more proactive in controlling the menace.
Not only political parties but society has a role to play as it’s not a political issue but a social one. The issue should not be politicised. All political parties should be brought on a common platform to address the issue.
Randeep Singh Nabha, Congress MLA
Parties should shun drugs during polls
The drug problem in Punjab is extremely grave considering the surge in unemployment in the state. As people lack direction and stability, it can lead to a law-and-order problem, considering the history of militancy in our state.
The international border needs to be strengthened on the same pattern as was done to wipe out militancy. Stringent laws must be enacted so that anyone found with drugs is sent to jail. There should be adequate video-graphed proof, followed by a speedy trial.
Politicians across party lines should shun the use of liquor and drugs during elections. People should come forward and inform the police about drug peddlers. Law-enforcing agencies should ensure that vested interests do not hinder investigation.
Surjit Kumar Jyani, health minister
Politicians, society have a big role
Things are being projected in such a manner that it is bringing a bad name to Punjab. The SAD-BJP government is worried. We agree that 2% to 5% people in the state are addicted to drugs, which can be controlled.
The state government has tightened things; shops selling medicines are being dealt with strictly and are not allowed to sell habit-forming drugs. Police have been asked to deal with drug smugglers with an iron hand.
Political parties and society have a big role to play in creating awareness. Both the SAD and BJP are doing that. BJP president Amit Shah is coming to Punjab on January 22 to create awareness. We should cut across party lines to deal with the issue.
Pargat Singh, Akali MLA
Engage youth in sports activity
The problem is equally serious in other parts, but Punjab has received the media attention owing to various factors. No one in the state cultivates drugs; still, the problem has taken a serious tuen. In Punjab, there is an easy availability of drugs, which is a cause for concern.
Besides breaking the supply of drugs, diverting the attention of the youth by engaging them in sports is the best way to end the problem. The state and central governments should promote sports right from the nursery school level. More sports fairs should be held at the village level.
Political parties and society can make the masses aware. Parents should divert the minds of children towards sports. Political parties should stop the blame game. Stern message should be given by political parties to declare zero tolerance for drugs.
Ramesh Inder Singh, former Punjab chief secretary
Govt serious about the issue
In areas bordering Haryana and Rajasthan, opium is a habit. We can deal with that. However, what is worrying is the increased consumption of synthetic drugs by the youth. This has been aggravated by the fact that Punjab is in the drug-transit zone.
The fact that the issue is in so much focus is part of the solution. The government is doing a lot in terms of enforcement and it shows it is serious about tackling the issue. Education and reform are equally important.
The fact that political parties are united in agreeing that this is an issue that needs to be addressed is a positive sign. They may differ in the manner in which the problem is to be sorted out, but at least they are all talking about it.
Binnu Dhillon, Punjabi film actor
Start hanging drug dealers
The problem is deep-rooted. This is the story of every house in Punjab. Parents should spend time with their children. Make children intelligent, not beautiful. The need is to work on their inner beauty. If parents bring up children on values, the youth can be saved.
The state government knows from where the drugs are coming and who is selling them. Then, why isn’t it taking strict action? The need is to hang one drug peddler publicly and announce that if someone is caught selling drugs, he would meet the same fate.
The state government has started rehabilitation camps in which incapable staff and cops bring addicts from villages. The government should involve efficient medical officers and NGOs for rehabilitating addicts and stop filling its coffers.
Compiled by: Gurpreet Nibber, Sukhdeep Kaur, Ravinder Vasudeva, Chitleen K Sethi and Usmeet Kaur.
Now share your views and suggestions with HT on WhatsApp, at 8591167814