"The State of Punjab would come up trumps in the war against drugs too on the pattern of independence movement, Indo-Pak wars and war against terrorism. The state would again reclaim its glorious position and be a role model worth emulating for the world."These views were expressed here today by the Cooperation and Jails Minister, Punjab, S. Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa on the occasion of a summit held on the subject of 'War against Drugs and future challenges' to mark the completion of three years of the State Government. He said that on assuming the office as Chief Minister, Captain Amarinder Singh constituted an STF (Special Task Force) and initiated the various anti drug campaigns which have started bearing fruit today. He also said that with political will and cooperation of the masses, every battle can be won. The State of Punjab came out victorious in the war against terrorism in the ninetees with the same resolve. He exhorted the media and common people to desist from portraying the gangsters as heroes and present these as anti social elements only. He also added that the misrule of the previous regime pulled state backwards by several notches. He demanded from the Union Government the funds for strengthening of jail infrastructure because more than 50 percent of inmates in jails are behind the bars for involvement in narco/NDPS cases. The minister divulged that the Punjab Government has also constituted Jail Reform Board with focus on channelising the energy of inmates towards constructive sides because an idle mind is always game for mischief. Listing the steps taken by the Punjab Government, S. Randhawa while forwarding his argument with facts, disclosed that during the past three years a total of 42,571 people have been arrested and the Punjab Police has confiscated 974.15 Kg heroin and registered 34373 NDPS cases. The STF conducted big time operations including confiscating 197 Kg heroin in Amritsar.
On the occasion, the STF Chief, ADGP Mr. Harpreet Singh Sidhu said that the war against drugs would speed up it's momentum in the coming days and would lead to exceptional results. He also added that nobody found involved in drug trade would be spared and also every effort would be made to rehabilitate the drug addicts into the mainstream of the society. Divulging more, he said that there is absolutely no interference of political nature in the working of the STF which has lead to excellence results. He also elaborated that the State Government has established 193 OOAT clinics which are providing free treatment at the regular intervals to drug addicts. At present, there are 3,70,000 people undergoing treatment for getting rid of drug menace. Similarly, over 5 lakh Drug Abuse Prevention Officers (DAPOs) have been nominated. Till now, more than 7 lakh BUDDY groups are educating the youth about the destructive effects of drugs. Around 4 lakh patients have been registered under the de addiction program. Also taking part in the panel discussion, Sarpanch Gurvinder Singh of village Daudpur in District Tarn Taran while giving an example of his village, said that he out of his own volition decided to take up cudgels against the drug menace and make the youth Aware. This initiative lead to constructive results with the active cooperation by the police and Government. He expressed hope that if every village turns up against the drugs and wages a whole hearted war against this menace then Punjab would be rid of the drug problem very soon. Others who aired their views in the panel discussion included eminent psychologist Dr. Rana Ranbir Singh and Dr. Sandeep Bhola.