Punjab police launch fresh crackdown to wipe out drug remnants

In a yet another push to its antidrug drive, the Punjab police have relaunched the clampdown to “wipe out the drugs remnants” — a move that is aimed at giving further fillip to the ‘now or never’ crackdown launched after the Lok Sabha elections in May last year.
Updated on May 30, 2015 09:36 AM IST
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Hindustan Times | ByHT Correspondents, Chandigarh/hoshiarpur/patiala

In a yet another push to its anti-drug drive, the Punjab police have relaunched the clampdown to “wipe out the drugs remnants” — a move that is aimed at giving further fillip to the ‘now or never’ crackdown launched after the Lok Sabha elections in May last year.

While holding the ‘crime review meeting’ at Jalandhar on May 16, the director general of police (DGP), Sumedh Singh Saini, had directed the police officers posted in field to relaunch the crackdown, a senior police officer who was present in this meeting told Hindustan Times.

“The primary objective of this latest drive is to wipe out the remnants of drugs and peddlers,” a top police officer said, adding that no major recovery of heroin was made during the drive in the past six days.

In a coordinated effort, the Patiala district police seized around 82-kg poppy husk, 2,915 narcotic pills and 96-gram smack from 10 locations across the district and registered 25 FIRs.

In Hoshiarpur district, police in past three days registered nearly 40 cases against drug peddlers, mostly involved in poppy husk.

In Patiala district, among the 25 FIRs registered, police booked two women, Mahinder Kaur and Dhiro Kaur, who were found to be in possession of 5-kg poppy husk each during a search operation by the Sadar Nabha police at Kheri Gandian village.

The anti-drug drive, however, is giving jitters to the jail authorities as prisons are already brimming with inmates.

On Friday, the number of inmates lodged in the Hoshiarpur district jail was 1,030 against a capacity of 603.

Jail superintendent Ajmer Rana said that 35-40% of inmates had Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) cases pending against them.

In Hoshiarpur, most of the arrested persons are either drug addicts or small peddlers. Almost all FIRs registered with various police stations are identical, showing that recoveries were made during search operations. Even the quantity of “chitta” (smack) does not vary much.

The accused arrested with noncommercial quantity of drugs can avail immunity from prosecution under Section 64-A of the NDPS Act, if they volunteer for de-addiction treatment from a governmentrecognised institution.

Sources say that number of such persons is very less. While the state government has been claiming to have put in motion a process to ensure speedy trial of NDPS undertrials, the addict-sturned-peddlers continue to languish in jails for months.

Jails minister Sohan Singh Thandal said the delay in trial was due to late arrival of reports from the forensic science laboratory. “The government has started drug de-addiction and rehabilitation centres in all districts. In the past year, we treated more than 11,000 addicts at these centres. Those who undergo full treatment are saved from prosecution,” he said.

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