Attempting to knock down “anti-Punjab forces’ propaganda” that most border state youth are “drug addicts”, deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal on Friday said recent police recruitment dope tests proved that substance abuse among the Punjab youth was lower than the national and global average.
“Only 1.27% (4,501) of 3.76 lakh youth, who underwent dope test, were found positive. The Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) branded our youth drug addict. This forced us to put our youth through the dope test to bring out the truth,” Sukhbir, flanked by Dr Raj Bahadur, vice-chancellor of Baba Farid University of Health Sciences (BFUHS) and police chief Suresh Arora, said in a crowded press conference here.
In a bid to counter the nationwide perception about the drug menace in Punjab, Sukhbir, who has the home portfolio with him, used the recent police recruitment to ascertain the “truth”.
The BFUHS V-C Dr Raj Bahadur was tasked to conduct the dope tests on which over Rs 3 crore were spent in buying the test kits and different teams of BFUHS doctors took about two-months to complete the exercise.
Nearly 5-lakh youth had applied for police constable recruitment and 3.76-lakh aspirants underwent the dope test. At least 283 youth from other states were found positive.
Sukhbir said about 14,000 Punjab youth had appeared in the army recruitment, of which only 10 were tested positive.
“I want to caution these political parties and the anti-Punjab and anti-youth duo of Amarinder (Singh) and Arvind (Kejriwal) to stop defaming Punjab. If they still brand our youth as addicts, this will prove that they are enemies of Punjab,” he said.
The BFUHS V-C Dr Raj Bahadur said, “This dope data is authentic and unbiased. The sample size of 3.76-lakh youth is a historic task performed in a thorough professional manner. This data is as credible as is my professional standing. The dubious perception of drug-addiction is far beyond the truth. The statistics prove that the incidence of drug abuse in Punjab is less than the national and international average.”
The deputy CM said to show the Akali-BJP government in poor light, the political opponents used the drug issue and declared youth as addicts. This propaganda, he said, was fraught with “dangerous repercussions” and the government took the challenge head-on.
“Rahul Gandhi, Amarinder and Arvind must tender an unconditional apology to the people of Punjab for committing a dangerous image distortion and fraud against them by branding the youth of the land of the Gurus as drug addicts,” Sukhbir said.
3.75 lakh youth underwent dope test
4,501 (1.27%) candidates tested positive
1,672 candidates cleared dope test in second chance as they had taken performance enhancers in the first test