Punjab government climbs down on dope test plan for employees
In July, it was proposed to make mandatory dope test for all 3.5 lakh employees of state government departments besides 50,000 staff members of boards and corporations in the wake of a series of deaths due to drug overdose in the state.punjab Updated: Sep 27, 2018 09:13 IST
The Punjab government is not likely to implement the proposal to conduct mandatory dope test on all its employees as was mooted two months back.
With the state machinery finding it difficult to implement the proposal, the Punjab government is reworking the draft to make dope test mandatory for employees at the time of joining and when they get promotions. Besides, the existing compulsory medical test will remain in practice.
In July, it was proposed to make mandatory dope test for all 3.5 lakh employees of state government departments besides 50,000 staff members of boards and corporations in the wake of a series of deaths due to drug overdose in the state.
The government felt cornered on the issue after the opposition parties —Shiromani Akali Dal and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) — cried foul over it, blaming the Congress government for failing to stop availability of drugs in the state despite its election promise to eradicate the menace.
An officer said making all government employees undergo dope test was not possible and the state government got wary that the move might boomerang.
“The proposal, which is moving in different departments, may also make it compulsory for those have completed service of 20-25 years,” said an official requesting anonymity.
“I have referred the matter to general administration department for suggestions,” said principal secretary (personnel) Arunjit Singh Miglani.
After asked by the chief secretary to take call on the matter, the personnel department had suggested to strengthen the existing medical examination at the time of joining by making the dope test mandatory and then referred the matter to general administration department for framing a policy.
“Two months ago, we had sent a proposal to the chief secretary that it will take one year and 65 government hospitals at district and tehsil level to conduct dope tests for all employees. Our department was ready to implement whatever government had decided,” said additional chief secretary (health and family planning) Satish Chandra.
Then the health department pegged the cost of the entire exercise at ₹25 crore with each kit costing ₹450 (including the logistics charges).
The state health department had also devised standard operating procedure (SOP) as per which the hospitals would accept urine samples four days a week to conduct dope test on the employees. The standard operating procedure was sent to chief secretary Karan Avtar Singh who asked the personnel department to take a call on this.
First Published: Sep 27, 2018 09:13 IST