Amid the blame game over drug spillover, Himachal Pradesh police will share information with neighbouring Punjab on the pharmaceutical units suspected of clandestinely manufacturing pharma-based intoxicants leading to increased drug menace in both states.
The newly-constituted Punjab police’s narcotic control bureau had sought assistance from Himachal Pradesh police on pharmaceutical units based in industrial township of Baddi, Barotiwala and Nalagarh which were suspected of being involved in clandestine trade of pharmabased intoxicants. The HP police, meanwhile, have sought data of pharmaceutical firms across the state. There are more than 400 pharmaceutical units based in industrial township of Baddi, Barotiwala, Nalagarh, Parwanoo in Solan district, while more than 100 pharmaceutical units are based in Paonta Sahib and Kala Amb in Sirmaur district.
Himachal Pradesh over the years has emerged as one of pharmaceutical hubs in North India. Himachal alone produces drugs worth Rs. 24,000 crore. Pharmaceutical units in Himachal exports drugs amounting to Rs. 9,000 crore.
“We have sought data about pharmaceutical units in the state from the health department,” Sanjay Kumar, director general of police, HP told Hindustan Times.
“We have asked the health department to spare one drug inspector to assist in the special drive against the synthetic drugs,” added Sanjay Kumar. However, there have been instances where drug inspectors have gone missing while police prepared to conduct raids at the pharmaceutical units.
In the recent past, Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal and Himachal counterpart Virbhadra Singh had been trading charges over the spillover of synthetic drugs. Punjab had been accusing the pharmaceutical units in Himachal Pradesh of illegally producing pharma-based intoxicants (habit-forming drugs), which were being widely abused in the state.
CHEMICAL DRUGS MAJOR PROBLEM
Consumption of intoxicants with a pharmaceutical origin has become a major problem in Punjab and recently the menace has spilled over to Himachal Pradesh. Synthetic drugs are being abused more in the areas bordering Punjab and Haryana.
Meanwhile, HP health minister Kaul Singh Thakur outrightly rejected the claims of Punjab government that drug firms were illegally smuggling the pharma-based intoxicants in Punjab. “It’s absolutely wrong to blame Pharmaceutical units in the state for Punjab’s drug menace. In the case related to seizure of pharma-based intoxicants in Patiala, Punjab police claimed that the contraband came from Himachal, but in reality they did not find any evidence even as the health department assisted them in investigations.
Rather, it’s the other way round. The drug mafia active in Punjab was trying to make inroads in Himachal Pradesh,” said Thakur
Punjab police had also sought details of the transit routes which it suspected were being used to smuggle pharma-based drugs from Himachal.
In the wake of rising drug menace, HP police have sought funds from the narcotic control bureau to set up baggage scanners in towns bordering Punjab and Haryana.