A day after the Punjab and Haryana high court bench made an alarming observation that drug-laced paranthas were being sold by street vendors in the city, the UT police swung into action on Thursday morning, but the drives carried out by them didn’t have a lasting effect.
The police said all roadside vends, especially outside Panjab University, other colleges and schools across the city, were removed on Thursday morning. However, during a visit to some of these areas, it was found that till afternoon most of them had returned to their fixed spots.
Talking to HT, Sukhchain Singh Gill, superintendent of police (SSP), said the police had taken a strict note of the high court bench observation. “All the station head officers have been asked to conduct random checks in their areas and take strict action against any kind of violation,” he said.
On being asked about any success in establishing the court observation, he said, “We are yet to establish that vendors are selling drug-laced paranthas, though no such information was received in the past. But cops have been alerted to keep a check on such activities.” Many vendors were also in a state of shock and denied of indulging in any such practices. A vendor, Kishore, who sells paranthas outside the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), opposite to the night food street, claimed he had been selling paranthas for the past three years, but had never heard of drug-laced paranthas.
“The court observation will impact our lives as the police will not allow us to put up vend, and will keep unnecessary check. We serve food on low price to several patients as not everyone can afford to eat food served in the PGI canteens or at night food street,” Kishore said. A senior police officer said they had initiated a strong campaign against drug menace long before the court observation. “SHOs and other senior officers regularly visit schools to motivate students to inform them against these practices. Their identity is always kept hidden,” said the cop.
Meanwhile, UT adviser Vijay Dev said the UT health department, police and the administration had launched a special drive to tackle drug menace.
High Court Order
Earlier on Wednesday, the Punjab and Haryana high court bench had stated that rehriwallahs operating outside schools, colleges and in other city spots were selling drugs. The observation was made by the bench of justices Surya Kant and PB Bajanthri during the resumed hearing of a PIL on the drug menace in Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh.