Captain unleashes data war on drugs in Punjab: Half bluff, half goof-up
The Congress government claimed a whopping increase in OPD visits and indoor patients during this period, over the average monthly figures of 2016, when no anti-drug crackdown was launched. The statement puts the number of OPD visits between March 16 and April 26 at 18,440, citing a jump of 48%, without giving even the 2016 monthly figurepunjab Updated: May 03, 2017 00:02 IST
“I have broken the backbone of the drug syndicate in Punjab,” Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh had claimed on Monday in interviews, on his government completing a month-and-half in power. Amarinder had given a deadline of four weeks in run-up to elections to “wipe out drugs from Punjab”.
But the Shriomani Akali Dal (SAD) contested his claim on Monday asking him to give out figures. The Congress government answered with a data war on Tuesday. But the figures were apparently half bluff and half goof-up. Not only did the government choose a wrong year for comparison — 2016 — when no anti-drugs crackdown was launched, it also cited data on NDPS cases, arrests and seizures that are far below those given by the special task force (STF) formed by the CM under ADGP Harpreet Sidhu. Either the STF or the government seems to be wrong on the figures.
Sample this: According to the government statement, the total FIRs registered under the NDPS Act between March 16 and April 26 are 797, with 920 arrests. The data of the STF collected from all police zones, a copy of which is with HT, cites 1,918 cases and 2,205 arrests between March 16 and April 27. Similarly, the government’s data puts total heroin seizures at 2.926 kg while it is 10.225 kg in the STF data.
In case of poppy husk, the seizures in the government data are 2,212 kg and 4,405 kg in that of STF. For opium, the total seizures are 50.792 kg in government and 118.7 kg on the STF list. The total number of pills/capsules seized stand at 4,39,063 in government statement and 7,61,595 in the STF data.
AND THE BLUFF!
The Congress government also claimed a whopping increase in OPD visits and indoor patients during this period, over the average monthly figures of 2016, when no anti-drug crackdown was launched. The statement puts the number of OPD visits between March 16 and April 26 at 18,440, citing a jump of 48%, without giving even the 2016 monthly figure.
The indoor patients in the same period, it claimed, had increased by 103% to 1,446 across the state. Pointing out that these were figures for just the government centres, the spokesperson said huge numbers were also being reported from the private centres and hospitals.
By not revealing the figures of private centres, the government is saying a half-truth. If compared with a similar anti-drug crackdown and de-addiction drive launched by the previous government in June 2014 after a poor show in Lok Sabha polls, the numbers of the OPD and indoor patients show a drastic fall. The figures of the health department from government and private OPDs between June 19 and June 30 were 89,616, which shot up to 1,12,265 in July 2014, a copy of which is also with the HT.
But the Congress rightly cited SAD’s demand to release data on the “number of addicts actually weaned away from drugs” as ludicrous. “If they had any understanding of the problem they would have realised that de-addiction requires medical and psychiatric treatment which may span into months,” it said.
It went on to pin the blame on the drug problem on Akalis. “The SAD government had connived with drugs dealers and the problem spread to rampant and dangerous levels during its tenure,” the statement added..