Racing against time on its promise of eradicating drug menace from Punjab in four weeks of coming to power, the Captain Amarinder Singh government on Tuesday claimed arrest of 485 drug traders and peddlers in a multi-agency crackdown across the state since it took over.
Speaking to reporters after the governor's address, Amarinder said the crackdown has started and ADGP Harpreet Sidhu has taken charge of the special task force. "I am seeking daily reports on the crackdown," he said.
Later, the chief minister's office in a statement said SHO-level teams, backed by CIA and anti-narcotics cell units, have been formed in every district and state special operations (SSOP) cells have also joined the drive. The CM directed state agencies to coordinate with central agencies, such as Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) and customs department, to check smuggling of drugs into the state from other parts of India and abroad.
The CMO spokesperson said in the period between March 16 (the day the new government was installed in the state) and March 27, a total of 3.9-kg heroin was recovered during raids by the special teams, including 1-kg by the BSF. In addition, the seizures included poppy husk (622 kg), smack (528 gram), charas (2.22 kg), opium (24.39 kg), bhang (1.879 kg) and ganja (65.6 kg). The special teams have also recovered 133 bottles of syrup, 1,075 injections and 90,993 capsules/pills packed with drugs, besides 11.2 kg of intoxicant powder in the said period, he said.
Jalandhar tops in drug seizures
Maximum number of 63 cases have been registered in Jalandhar (rural) district, from where maximum recovery of 7.25-kg opium and 1-kg heroin was made by the BSF along the border. The Jalandhar police have launched its own helpline number, appealing to the public to come forward with any information on drugs smuggling and supply. All police stations have been directed to make lists of drug peddlers and bootleggers, who have been booked at least twice in the past 10 years and put them under surveillance. Seminars and educational programmes in schools and colleges, along with ‘nukkad nataks’, road shows are also being organised for which the government is also roping in NGOs, youth clubs and Nehru Yuva Kendras.