CHANDIGARH, JULY 4: Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh today made a strong recommendation to Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh for amending the existing laws to provide for death penalty for first-time drug smugglers and peddlers.
Taking forward his Cabinet’s decision on the issue, the Chief Minister has written a D.O letter to the Union Home Minister seeking urgent steps to initiate the process of amending the NDPS Act to provide for more deterrent punishment to drug offenders.
"Given the magnitude of the problem, which had been denied during the last many years, these enforcement measures though yielding results, need to be further strengthened. In this direction, it is felt that the existing drug prevention and control laws should be revisited to provide for more deterrent punishment to the offenders,” he wrote, citing the various measures already taken by his government to enforce the existing laws to prevent drug abuse as also to ensure rehabilitation and de-addiction of those who indulge in it.
Needless to say, "the intensive action plan unfolded and executed by us during the last over a year has resulted in arrest of 18977 drug peddlers and treatment of more than 2 lakh drug victims,” he has pointed out. Giving further details, the Chief Minister said, that the state government has already initiated a mass awareness programme, namely the Drug Abuse Prevention Officers’ Prevention (DAPOs) Programme, which is aimed at effective participation of civil society in prevention of drug abuse in the State, the letter further reads.
In his letter, the Chief Minister has further pointed out that the existing Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985, provides for death penalty for certain offences if these are committed for a second time. This means that a person can indulge in these nefarious activities and get away at least once, causing substantial damage to the youth and the society, he lamented.
His government felt that this should not be allowed to happen and even first-time offenders should be awarded death penalty for offences which are clearly elaborated in Section 31 A of the NDPS Act, 1985. "We have come to this conclusion after a comprehensive discussion and feel that resultant deterrence of provisions of death penalty in the Act ibid, will help us in effectively containing if not eliminating the drug peddlers and mafia operating not only in Punjab, but also in other parts of the Country,” he has written in his letter.
The Chief Minister apprised Rajnath about the magnitude of the drug problem in Punjab, noting that drug dealing and peddling has caused serious strains on the state’s human and economic resources. "These are being realized as major obstacles in the state’s socio-economic development,” he said, adding that "the menace of drugs is affecting the present generation of youth not only in Punjab, but also in the neighbouring states.” His government was fully committed to its eradication, he added.
The Chief Minister has urged the Home Minister to advise the concerned officers of the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, to pursue the Punjab Government’s proposal to make the necessary amendment to the NDPS Act to save the youth and the society from the menace of drugs.