Intensifying the fight against drugs, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, in Chandigarh on Wednesday, mooted preventive detention of repeat offenders in drugs smuggling cases, amid reports that the police have identified around 200 such criminals.
"The Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act provides for preventive detention of such criminals," the Chief Minister said while suggesting fast-track courts for speedy trial of offenders.
"I would take up the matter of operationalising such fast-track courts at the earliest with the Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court," he said during a video conference with the Deputy Commissioners and the senior police officers organised to review progress of drug eradication drive and discuss the strategy.
The video conference was preceded by a meeting of 'Consultative Group on Drugs: Comprehensive Action Plan against Drugs Abuse', headed by the Chief Minister.
He extended his government's full support to the eight Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) teams assigned to map the border areas of Punjab and coordinate the fight against drugs in the region.
NCB Deputy Director General S.K. Jha said around 25 officers, including himself, had been deputed to Punjab to strengthen coordination with other states, like Jammu & Kashmir and Gujarat, which had emerged as major sources of drugs flow into the state.
Jha underlined the need to check money trails to curb drug trafficking and appreciated the state government's preventive and rehabilitation steps to eradicate the menace.
State Director General of Police (DGP) Dinkar Gupta said the Chief Minister's letter to the Prime Minister seeking a national drugs policy had evoked a positive response from the Centre. Home Minister Amit Shah had directed officers to ensure better coordination, he added.
It was also announced that Punjab would host the next meeting of the Chief Ministers of the neighbouring states for better coordination in drug enforcement efforts.
At the meeting, the Chief Minister reiterated his government's zero-tolerance policy against colluding government officials, including policemen.
Taking cognizance of complaints of collusion of police officers with drug smugglers, traders and peddlers, he asked the DGP to break the nexus. "A rewards scheme is being finalised to incentivise people to join the fight against drugs," the Chief Minister said.