Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh (File Photo/ANI)
Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh (File Photo/ANI)

Amarinder proposes joint operations on inter-state borders to tackle drug menace

ANI | Updated: Jul 25, 2019 14:16 IST

Chandigarh (Punjab) [India], July 25 (ANI): Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Thursday expressed concern over the spread of narco-terrorism by Pakistan and proposed joint operations on the inter-state borders as part of a series of collaborative measures to tackle drug menace.
Speaking at the '2nd Regional Conference on Drug Menace-Challenges and Strategies' here, he unveiled a detailed strategy and action plan for the eradication of the scourge for consideration and implementation by all the participating states.
Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat attended the meeting besides senior officials representing Jammu and Kashmir, Delhi and Chandigarh.
Pointing out that drug traffickers were not confined to national or state boundaries, Singh said that, Pakistan was promoting narco-terrorism to create trouble in India, with drugs being pushed in through Uri and Kandla, among other places. Given the enormity of the problem, it was not possible for any state to tackle it alone, he said, calling for joint efforts, with a National Drugs Policy to combat the menace.
Pointing to last month's huge seizure of drugs at the Integrated Check Post at Attari (Amritsar), the Chief Minister said, "They exposed the existence of an active and organized drug smuggling racket and network through the Attari trade route. Investigations had revealed the involvement of a major International drug racket based in Pakistan as well as in Afghanistan."
Since April 1, 2017, after his government took charge, 27,799 cases had been registered under the NDPS Act, with 33,756 persons arrested, Singh said adding that 780 kgs of heroin and 1189 of opium, along with large quantities of other drugs, had been seized," informed Singh.
"Enforcement measures in Punjab have focused on breaking the supply chain of narcotics by increasing security and vigil including areas along the international border through tactical reinforcement behind The Border Security Force (BSF) deployment. Further, action has been taken against drug traffickers at all levels in the supply chain for disruption of the distribution network. Special emphasis is being placed on the recovery of heroin," Singh added.
He further added that the problem has nationwide ramifications, with the northern region particularly vulnerable.
As part of the joint efforts, Singh called for effective coordination and Joint operations with The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), BSF and other central agencies, including the Intelligence Bureau (IB) to tighten the noose against big drug smugglers or suppliers.
Calling for a crackdown on the drug factories in all the neighbouring states, he said: "Units manufacturing illicit synthetic drugs should be properly identified for suitable action. The detention proposals of big Drug smugglers/suppliers of all States be prepared under section 3 of The Prevention of Illicit Traffic In Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act (PIT NDPS Act), 1988."
Singh advocated fast track courts for speedy trials of NDPS offenders, especially big drug smugglers/suppliers involved in commercial quantity seizures or transactions. The matter would be taken by his government with the Punjab and Haryana High Court. He urged other states to also pursue the same.
In another important initiative, the Punjab Chief Minister mooted the development and implementation of an Information Sharing Platform, for real-time sharing of information, both in physical and virtual space, in view of the fact that areas near or adjoining inter-state borders invariably become sanctuaries for smugglers, gangsters or criminals.
Often, drug suppliers or criminals, who are residents of adjoining States, are operating in neighbouring States, he pointed out, underlining the need for sharing of lists and morning photos of NDPS Proclaimed offenders.
Citing some of the initiatives being taken by Punjab government to tackle the drug menace issue, Singh pointed to the success of the Special Task Force (STF) set up by his government in April 2017, and the Comprehensive Action against Drug Abuse (CADA) strategy being implemented in Punjab through a three-pronged approach based on a balanced emphasis on Enforcement-De Addiction-Prevention (EDP).
Captain Amarinder also spoke about the de-addiction and rehabilitation measures in place, in addition to the Outpatient Opioid Assisted Treatment (OOAT) approach, with 185 OOAT clinics providing free treatment. He shared with the conference the progress of the Buddy and DAPO programs launched by his government as part of the preventive strategy against drugs.
Singh underscored the importance of closer engagement, among the states, at various levels, including the level of the Political Executive, Home Secretaries, Director General of Police (DGPs), and Health Secretaries. (ANI)