Claiming that the drug abuse situation in Punjab was worrisome about a year ago and the Punjab government initiatives had improved it a lot since, former IPS (Indian Police Service) officer and Magsaysay Award winner Kiran Bedi said here on Tuesday that the menace could be fought now or never.
She stressed the need for taking consistent measures to make the state clean of drugs. She was in Amritsar to review the efforts at a drug de-addiction centre. “Pained by the Punjab situation, I had written an open letter to chief minister Parkash Singh Badal a few months ago. Now I can say definitely that his government has made efforts in the right direction and shown us positive intent. It is do or die for Punjab, and its need to maintain the pressure,” she said.
Supporting the aggressive anti-drug drive of Punjab Police, the former IPS officer said it had brought good results. “Not only the supply line has been broken but also the demand has been controlled.
Observing that it might take another year to say full control had been achieved, Bedi said at least the message had gone out that drug trade would not be tolerated anymore. “It has gone out to police, politicians, common man, everyone; but it should not stop here,” she said. Reacting to observation that big fish were not being caught, Bedi said: “Big fish are on the run. Small fish are in jail, and this has cut the supply line and demand.”
She claimed that she was in the state regularly to check how far it has succeeded. “I will raise my voice whenever I see a lack of transparency and the lowering of guard. I had told the CM that this issue was manageable, if policing was strict,” said Bedi.
During her visit to Swami Vivekananda Drug De-addiction Centre, Amritsar, the former IPS officer interacted with patients and motivated them to kick the habit for a respectable life.
Accompanied by Amritsar deputy commissioner Ravi Bhagat, she reviewed the functioning of the centre and asked its officer in charge, Dr PD Garg, to introduce motivational programmes, yoga, books, and inspirational movies, besides monthly review meeting.
Inspector general (border range) Ishwar Chander and state narcotics control bureau director Ishwar Singh were present. Both IGs informed Bedi about the measures taken. Later, Bedi also visited a de-addiction centre in Tarn Taran.