Punjab Chief Minister (CM) Amarinder Singh on Monday defended his decision on dope test for government employees, including police personnel, saying such tests were also conducted in the army as a precautionary measure.

“The current situation in the state where addicts were resorting to the use of concoctions due to scarcity and high price of drugs had warranted such harsh steps,” the CM said, while speaking to reporters after the passing-out parade at the Police Recruit Training Centre at Jahan Khelan (Hoshiarpur).

The pressure mounted on the drug smugglers had choked the supply lines, forcing addicts to go for concoctions, which were resulting in instant deaths, Amarinder said.

He reiterated that as far as dope test for politicians/elected representatives was concerned, he would leave the decision to their conscience.

The proposal for death sentence in the first instance of drug-smuggling related offence was also aimed at the elimination of the menace, Amarinder said in response to questions.

The increase in tip-offs being received by the police and the number of youth coming to drug treatment and rehabilitation centres showed that people were joining the government’s campaign against drugs, he added.

Asked about the drug case against former Moga senior superintendent of police Raj Jit Singh, the CM said the Punjab & Haryana High Court had already constituted a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe the matter and the report had been submitted to the court.

“With Raj Jit submitting his passport to the court, there was no danger of his fleeing the country,” said Amarinder, while replying to another question.

To a question on the allegations against former Shiromani Akali Dal minister Bikram Singh Majithia, the CM said the SIT had submitted its report to the court and the matter was before it.

Reiterating his demand for in-toto implementation of the MS Swaminathan Report, Amarinder Singh said the recent hike in minimum support price announced by the Centre was nothing but a political gimmick.

The CM, in response to a question on the problem of gangsters in the state, made it clear that law and order would be maintained by his government at all costs.

Many of the gangsters had already been eliminated while the rest had been warned to give up or face the consequences, he said.