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Punjab: 500 in drug net

Statesman News Service | New Delhi |

With 240 tip-offs received in just two days the number of arrests in drug cases in Punjab has gone up to nearly 500. Talking to mediapersons in New Delhi, Chief Minister (CM) Captain Amarinder Singh said that the anti-drugs campaign kick started by his government was yielding results and would get a further boost with the Special Task Force (STF) Chief Harpreet Sidhu taking charge on Friday.

CM said he had directed the police and intelligence departments to reach out to the people even more aggressively in the coming days. The government has assured that the identity of anyone reporting any drugs related crime on the helpline 181 would be protected. "The tip-offs received so far were being verified and stern action would be initiated in cases where the information is verified," said Punjab CM. He further reiterated that no drugs user would be harassed by the police or other agencies involved in the drugs crackdown.

Providing an update on the drugs campaign, an official spokesperson from the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) later disclosed that till from March 16 to March 29, 497 drugs traders and peddlers had been booked, with 449 cases registered under the NDPS Act.

Giving break-up of the drugs seizures made during this period, the spokesperson said, 4.034 kilogram (kg) of heroin and 0.605 kg of smack were recovered from those arrested. Other seizures included 2.22 kg of charas (cannabis), 24.46 kg of opium, 715.31 kg of poppy husk, bhang 1.879 kg of Bhang (cannabis). The police has also recovered 12.519 kg of intoxicant powder, 1576 injections, 111893 pills and capsules, 72.78 kg of ganja (cannabis) and 133 syrup bottles.

He further said, a multi-state agency operation is under way in the state to deal with the drugs menace. SHO level teams, backed by CIA and Anti-Narcotics Cell units, have been formed in every district to wipe out drugs from the state in four weeks. "State Special Operations (SSOP) cells has also joined the drive, and the civil administration is also extending its full support to the anti-drugs campaign by the various police and intelligence agencies," he said.

The CM has directed the state agencies to coordinate with central agencies such as the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) and the Customs Department to check the supply and smuggling of drugs into the state from other parts of India and abroad, said the spokesperson.