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Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Tuesday suggested shortening of the border tenures for the Border Security Force (BSF) to break the alleged nexus between their personnel and drug smugglers in order to check smuggling of narcotics from across the border. So Now, Geo-tagging of drug-affected villages of Punjab would be a target of government.

          The Chief Minister also ordered setting up of Wi-Fi CCTVs at all `nakas’ (check-posts) at the borders to prevent smuggling of drugs into the state. He underlined the need for effective exchange of information with neighboring states, as well as the central agencies, to coordinate the fight against drugs.

          Reviewing the government’s anti-drug campaign, the Chief Minister called for coordinated action against drugs, and said the decision to bring STF under the purview of the Punjab Police was also necessitated by the same. The Special Task Force (STF) would now work directly under the control of DGP, Punjab Police, as in the case of the Intelligence and Vigilance departments, the Chief Minister clarified. The STF had done excellent work under his office but, like the armed forces, the need was now felt to bring the agency under the leadership of the DGP for more cohesive functioning, he added.

          Underlining the need for a more coordinated approach by all the state and central agencies, the Chief Minister said that apart from drugs, which was of course a major problem, there was need for greater synchronisation to deal with other major crimes, such as trafficking of women, terrorism, arms smuggling, and unauthorised travel agents duping innocent people.

The Chief Minister also called for a concerted battle by the various agencies against the efforts of fringe elements, like the Sikhs For Justice (SFJ), which was seeking to divide the state with its motivated campaign of Referendum 2020. We have to counter this move aggressively, he added.

          Addressing a high-level meeting of all the DCs and SSPs/CPs of the state, the Chief Minister asked the police to formulate a robust system of reward and punishment to check drug abuse, with the suggestion to consider informers for government jobs as an incentive.

          Captain Amarinder Singh directed the police to set up crack teams under SSPs and DSPs at the headquarters level to strengthen the anti-drug fight. He also called for strengthening of the forensic labs to ensure proper and speedy testing of samples.

The SDMs, DSPs and SHOs concerned shall be held responsible and accountable for ensuring that their respective areas are drug-free, and that the de-addiction and prevention programmes are running effectively, he asserted. Drug-related achievements of medical, police and revenue officers should be reflected in their departmental ACRs, the Chief Minister suggested, as a step towards motivating officials to give their best in the fight against drugs. He warned that connivance of any kind with the drug mafia will not be tolerated and any officer/official found guilty of the same would face strict punishment.

Local officials should visit the houses from where drug abuse cases are reported and submit a comprehensive report for necessary follow-up action, the Chief Minister said. He also accepted a proposal of the police for geo-tagging of drug-affected villages to ensure their regular and proper monitoring. Drug-free villages would be given additional grants for development works, as an incentive, Captain Amarinder Singh announced.

The Chief Minister said he would be requesting the Punjab and Haryana High Court to set up fast-track courts to resolve cases under the NDPS Act in areas where more than 600 drug-related cases have been reported. This, he stressed, would ensure speedy punishment for the culprits, thus sending an exemplary message to others. He also directed the concerned officials to ensure timely and systematic completion of investigation of NDPS cases and proper follow-up (pairvi) of these cases in courts.

DGP Suresh Arora said the DCs, the SPs and the people of Punjab had successfully fought terrorism and it was time now for them to come together once again to build sustained pressure against drugs to fight the menace. He appreciated the fact that no Congress government had ever interfered or put pressure on the police in any drug related case.

The meeting was attended, amongst others, by Health Minister Brahm Mohindra, Media Advisor to CM Raveen Thukral, PPCC president Sunil Jakhar, along with Chief Principal Secretary to CM Suresh Kumar, Chief Secretary Karan Avtar Singh, Principal Secretary to CM Tejveer Singh, Additional Chief Secretary Home N S Kalsi, Additional Chief Secretary Health Satish Chandra and Nodal Officer DAPO Rahul Tewari.

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