Refuting the opposition charge that he had failed to keep his poll promise to wipe out the drug menace, Punjab Chief Minister said his government has already broken the back of the drug trade.
“Look, what I said and swore to do was to break the backbone of the drug mafia in four weeks. You can see the original recording of that moment, when I swore by the holy Gutka Sahib, to verify that. And that is something my government, through the STF, the Punjab Police and other agencies, has clearly done,” he claimed.
“You just have to look at the figures of arrests and seizures under the NDPS Act to ascertain the truth of my statement. The opposition is only trying to mislead the people with their falsehoods, as they are wont to do, he told.
“The problem is there, but we have been able to control it to a large extent. I know the recent drug-related deaths are extremely painful and I feel the pain of the families as much as they do, he said.
But you have to realise that what is happening now is not because of drugs per se but because of the concoctions these youngsters are taking after being deprived of drugs, which are no longer as easily available as they were earlier,” he said.
“The drug supply chain has been choked by the Special Task Force, the Punjab police and other agencies, and we have succeeded in breaking the backbone of the drug mafia. Some of the big fish are also in the police net and those who fled the country are on our radar and will soon be nabbed,” he said.
The Congress government in the state has been under pressure after an apparent surge recently of drug-related deaths. The state has now made drug tests mandatory and has been pushing for a death sentence for smugglers.
The opposition has also alleged a nexus between police officers and drug peddlers and smugglers.
“I do not know if it can be called a nexus, but yes, there have been a few instances of police personnel being involved in drug abuse and also working in cahoots with drug peddlers, the chief minister said.
We have already taken action against every such police officer against whom we have received a complaint and there has been enough prima facie evidence to show that the allegations have merit. We will continue to act on any such complaints with full seriousness in the future too.”
He said he had asked DGP to thoroughly check the antecedents of every officer against whom there was any suspicion of involvement in drugs.
On the mandatory dope test, he said, “I think you would agree that extreme situations demand extreme measures to handle them.
I really fail to understand what is there to be angry about, he said about the reaction to that step.
Even the Army has a system of dope test for recruits. I have already clarified that no action would be taken against any employee found positive in these tests. They will be treated and their identities will be kept confidential,” he said.
Singh ruled out vendetta politics when reminded that his party had accused Akali leaders earlier of patronizing the drug mafia.
Investigations are in progress at various levels and if any evidence is found against any politician, irrespective of which party they belong to, rest assured I will personally ensure that they are hanged, he said.
Now the entire police force, and even the administrative staff of the state are on the job, he said.
My government is committed to eliminating the drug problem once and for all. It has already wreaked enough havoc on our state and our people. No more. That is my promise, and I stand by it,” he added.