Amidst the ongoing decisive war against drugs waged on the directions of Chief Minister Punjab Bhagwant Singh Mann to root out the menace of drugs from the state, Punjab Police have arrested 302 drug smugglers/suppliers after registering 221 first information reports (FIRs), including 34 commercial, under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) act across the state in the last week.
Inspector General of Police (IGP) Headquarters Sukhchain Singh Gill, while addressing a Press Conference here on Monday, said that the Police have also recovered 24.08-Kg Heroin, 10-Kg opium, 1.57 quintals of poppy husk, and 1.05 lakhs tablets/capsules/injections/vials of Pharma opioids besides recovering Rs 20.72 Lakh drug money from their possession.
IGP Sukhchain Singh Gill said that as the state government has enforced a three-pronged strategy— Enforcement, Prevention and Rehabilitation— to eradicate drugs from the state, Chief Minister Bhagwant Singh Mann during his recent review meeting with all the senior officers of Punjab Police had directed all the CPs/SSPs to go into the field and do public meetings at village ‘Saths’ to get the first-hand-information, which will help in preventing the crime and eradicate drug menace.
He said that CPs/SSPs were also told to increase awareness activities against drugs, hold small flag marches in their jurisdictions and hold periodic meetings with the prominent persons of the society. Pertinently, Punjab Police organised at least 175 awareness events against drugs including 13 big events to sensitise people about ill effects of drugs.
The IGP said that the Punjab Police has been promoting and creating awareness about section 64a of the NDPS act, which provides opportunity to a drug consumer—caught with a few grams of heroin or narcotic powder— for rehabilitation. “There is a misconception among the public that section 64a would have long-term implications.
But the fact is any drug consumer caught with a small quantity of drugs has the opportunity to voluntarily seek to undergo medical treatment for de-addiction, and there will be no long-term implications,” he said. As part of the strategy, the Chief Minister has also directed to transfer of the lower rank police officials, who have been posted at the same seat for a long time to break the possible nexus, he said, while adding that district chiefs have already been told to make list of such police officials.
He said that the Chief Minister has also restrained CPs/SSPs and other field officers to take their sub-ordinate staff along with them on their transfers. To focus on hardcore criminals, the IGP said that the government has also decided to categorise the POs under three categories including Category A wherein punishment is more than 10 years, Category B wherein punishment is more than 7 years and Category C wherein punishment is less than 7 years.
He said that by taking strict action against extortion calls, Punjab Police have registered as many as 130 FIRs and arrested 117 accused persons involved in extortion calls, which led to decrease in extortion calls in the state. Meanwhile, with 10 more Proclaimed Offenders (POs)/Absconders in NDPS cases arrested in the last week, the total number of arrests reached 1186 since the special drive to arrest POs/absconders was started on July 5, 2022.