Punjab CM defends decision on dope test

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Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Monday defended his decision on dope test for government employees and 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, he said, while talking to media after the passing out parade at the Police Recruit Training Centre here.

“The pressure mounted on the drug smugglers and mafia had choked the supply lines, forcing addicts to go for concoctions, which were resulting in instantaneous deaths,” the chief minister reasoned.

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

Replying to a question he said, the proposal for a death sentence in the first instance of offence was also aimed at the elimination of the drug menace.

The state Cabinet had recently recommended to the Centre to allow the death penalty for drug peddlers and smugglers.

The increase in tip-offs received by police and a large number of youth coming to drug treatment and rehabilitation centres showed that the people were also worried about the deaths being caused by the use of concoctions by the youth and were actively joining the governments’ campaign against drugs, he added.

Asked about the case against former Moga SSP Raj Jit Singh, the chief minister said the Punjab and Haryana High Court had already constituted a 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, “he said while replying to another question.

To a question on the allegations against former Akali minister Bikram Singh Majithia, the chief minister 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 said the recent hike on MSP announced by the Centre was nothing but a “political gimmick”.

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

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

Amarinder, who was accompanied by his cabinet colleagues, Rana Gurmeet Singh Sodhi, Sunder Sham Arora, and Media Advisor Raveen Thukral, said the one rank up promotion announced by him for the police department would currently encompass only rank elevation, and his government would look at finding ways to also enhance their salaries.

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