[Chd,Pb]Capt Kicks Drug Menace Into Centre’s Court
In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday, Capt Amarinder Singh urged him to advise ministries of Home, Social Justice and Empowerment, and Health and Family Welfare to address the issue.
The chief minister sought Modi’s personal intervention for the formulation of a national policy focusing on three components — enforcement, de-addiction and prevention — to tackle the menace of drug abuse in the country.Singh said a national policy would enable all states to follow a similar, if not the same, approach on drug abuse, which, he said, “has substantially hampered the health of the people, particularly the youth”.
The chief minister expressed his state’s willingness to associate with the officers concerned of the Centre not only to evolve the policy but also to put in place an effective mechanism for its implementation.
In his letter to Modi, Singh also touched upon several steps which the Congress government in Punjab has taken during the past two years to check the drug menace and to expand its outreach at the grassroots to make towns and villages “drug-free”.
He also sought financial support from the Centre to increase the number of Outpatient Opioid Assisted Treatment (OOAT) clinics in Punjab, which he said, are currently being run on “meagre state resources”.
Tag: Drug Menace In Punjab
[Chd,Pb]Pb Cong Issues Show-Cause Notice to Whistle Blower Zira:Drugs
The Punjab Congress has issued a show-cause notice to its MLA Kulbir Singh Zira, for resenting Police Patronage to Drug Peddlers
On January 12, Kulbir Singh Zira MLA took a dig at the efforts of the Punjab government in making it a drug-free state, saying it could not be possible unless “black sheep” were roaming free.
“I am a loyal soldier of the party and will always remain so,” Zira told reporters here.
He said he will meet Punjab Congress chief Sunil Jakhar and will reply to the show-cause notice issued by the party within three days.
Zira further said that he would also meet Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and would put forth facts to substantiate his claims.
The public outburst by the MLA from Zira seat in Ferozepur has not gone down well with the Congress leadership, with party sources pointing out that it was wrong on the part of Kulbir Singh Zira for airing his grievances from the stage and rather he could have raised the matter at the party level.
[Chandigarh,Pb]Punjab Drug Menace Dogs Capt Amarinder’s Govt
Punjab’s drug menace, which Capt Amarinder Singh had sworn by the holy Gutka Sahib to wipe out within four weeks of coming to power, has come to haunt his government with reports suggesting a surge in the deaths of addicts.
The 16-month Congress government in Punjab is in a spot after a spate of deaths, allegedly due to drug overdose or the use of adulterated heroin.
The apparent surge in such cases comes at a time when the government is implementing an ambitious mission called ‘Tandrust Punjab’, meant to improve the people’s physical and mental health by taking care of the state’s air, water and food quality.
Wary of a public backlash if it fails to tackle the menace ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, the state Cabinet recently recommended to the Centre to allow death penalty for drug peddlers and smugglers, a move some activists dubbed a “knee-jerk” reaction.
Under immense pressure from social activists and the opposition parties, the state government also announced mandatory dope tests for all government employees.
This angered them and also triggered a political slugfest with the main opposition Aam Aadmi Party daring the chief minister to set an example by coming forward to take the test himself.
Shiromani Akali Dal, whose previous coalition government was accused of patronizing the drug mafia, has urged people to rise above political affiliations and fight a “comprehensive war against a common enemy.
According to reports, about 20 people died last month in Punjab because of drug overdose although the state health department has confirmed only two such deaths.
Some videos purportedly showing addicts dying of drug overdose have also surfaced on social media, adding to the pressure on Chief Minister Amarinder Singh.
But the state government claims it is acting effectively against the problem.
A special task force formed by Amarinder Singh soon after coming to power claimed to have choked the supply of drugs, especially heroin, to the state.
It is argued that it is this shortage that has forced addicts to consume adulterated drugs, which was leading to the deaths.
A study by the premier medical institute PGIMER reported last September that an estimated 2.70 lakh people in Punjab are addicted to drugs like include opium, heroin, poppy husk and synthetic drugs.
R S Ghuman, Professor of Economics at the Centre for Research in Rural and Industrial Development (CRRID), said the deceleration of the economy and unemployment were the main factors driving the youth to drugs.
Punjab government has claimed to have arrested 18,977 drug peddlers and registered 16,305 cases from March 16, 2017 to June 24, 2018.
Seizures during this period amounted to 378 kg heroin, 117 kg charas and 14 kg smack, along with varying quantities of other drugs, officials said.
Punjab has over 130 drug de-addiction centres and around 100 rehabilitation centres.
An Outpatient Opioid Assisted Treatment (OOAT) programme was launched by the health department last year to provide outdoor healthcare to addicts.
So far, over 8,000 patients have registered and are being treated. The total footfall at OOAT clinics has been recorded at 2,74,938, a health department official said.
[Chd,Pb]AAP Stages sit-in Against Drug Menace in Congress Led Punjab
The main opposition party “AAP”attacked the Congress-led government over the alleged spate of drug overdose deaths in the state and sought a high court-monitored CBI inquiry into the matter.
Addressing the party workers, AAP MLA and the Leader of Opposition in the Punjab Assembly Sukhpal Singh Khaira accused Chief Minister Amarinder Singh of fooling people with his poll promise of wiping out the drug menace in the state within four weeks of coming to power.
Officer on special Duty (OSD) to the chief minister Sandeep Singh Sandhu reached the dharna spot and received a memorandum of demands from the AAP leaders.
Soon after, the opposition party called off the sit-in and announced that the next course of action would be decided after meeting the chief minister.
Sangrur MP Bhagwant Mann and AAP state unit co-president Balbir Singh also participated in the protest.