Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh statement on writing to Central government for seeking death penalty to first-time drug peddlers may have evoked good response. But demanding death penalty for first-time offenders may result in implication of innocents for political or personal reasons, says former Superintendent of Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) O P Sharma.
“The drug abuse problem in any state or India will not be solved by merely making statements. We all need to show strong legitimate will to deal with it and formulate state-specific policy,” Sharma told The Statesman.
He appreciated the political will of Punjab CM in seeking death penalty, though he opined that it might become a tool in the hands of unscrupulous powerful people.
“It has been seen in the past that there is always ample scope many laws which can be used by unscrupulous elements to target political adversaries and many innocents had became victims of such acts,” he said.
However, he advocated death penalty for those who are repeat offenders and said the 2014 amendment in Narcotics Drug and Psychotropic Substances Act on death penalty should be revoked.
“The amendment had made death penalty optional or discretion in the hands of judges,” he said.
Secondly, the political bosses and law enforcement agencies should understand the repercussions and international perspective of drug abuse, particularly heroin which is now popularly known as ‘Chitta’ these days.
Earlier, Heroin was supplied from Pakistan to Punjab and thereafter, it was routed to Europe and other countries of the world.
“At that time (from 2003-2007), I had warned that once these packets start opening in Punjab, it would destroy the youth and this is happening now,” he said while pointing out at the current trend of rampant drug abuse which had even a topic of a movie (‘Udta Punjab’).
Further, we have to understand that Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) of Pakistan is actively engaged in pushing narcotics drugs through Punjab and Jammu Kashmir border. It should be consider as a covert war to ruin our younger generations especially in Punjab, he adds.
“Himachal too is fast becoming victim of drug abuse as heroin or chitta is now commonly available in almost every district of the state,” he said while calling for immediate actions to curb the growing trend.
Sharma said the honest and committed implementation of existing laws and disrupting the supply chains can bring the situation under control.
In addition, there should a specific or exclusive drug policy for every state under which special task force under separate directorate or wing should be setup for checking the menace.
“The drug routes on international and interstate borders should be effectively monitored with the help of high-tech gazettes. If we are able to implement the existing law honestly and monitor the borders effectively, the problem can be resolved,” he added.
“The policy makers need to wake up and come out with a comprehensive plan to address the issue, lest HP becomes a consumption hub too,” he said.