Punjab gets cracking against drug peddlers

Punjab gets cracking against drug peddlers

 Having faced an embittered response in Lok Sabha, perhaps for underestimating rampant drug abuse in Punjab, the state government is now acting with renewed vigour to stem the rot. 

In the last three days, over 200 cases under the Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act have been registered against drug peddlers in Punjab. An equal number of people involved in drug trade were also arrested during the same period.Police are conducting early morning swoops in certain drug-hit villages to break supply lines. They find wee hours as the right time to conduct raids and nab paddlers.The drug menace has been the dominant issue in the general elections.

In Amritsar, attempts are being made to dismantle an unholy nexus surrounding the drug trade. The police in the area are on an all-out offensive to check the menace. In the last five days or so, the Amritsar Police Commissionerate has witnessed close to 94 cases being registered under the NDPS Act.  Over 100 persons were arrested during the same period for involvement in the crime. Nearly 200 policemen led by 10 station house officers swooped down on Bir Talab village in Bathinda district in the wee hours of Saturday. The village is infamous for drugs supply. Police conducted search in all houses in the village which eventually led to arrest of 16 drug paddlers. Drugs were also confiscated.

Officials say the spurt in crackdown on drug trade follows directions from the top, advocating zero tolerance in such matters.

Although the incumbent SAD-BJP regime in Punjab has been active to dismantle the supply lines and bring paddlers to the book for some time now, the alliances’ show in recent elections arguably hasn’t been encouraging. It is believed that the loss in the elections, especially in vote share, was because campaign of the incumbents was not heavily loaded with the theme of drug menace that has gripped the youth of Punjab.

The political greenhorn, the Aam Aadmi Party, made drug issue the talking point and the results were overwhelming. It won four seats out of 13 in Punjab and bagged an encouraging vote share of 24 per cent.

The election period saw an unprecedented spurt in recovery of high priced heroin from Punjab – a whopping over Rs 700 crore of heroin estimated in international market.