Chandigarh, Aug 11 (IANS) Banking on the initial results of the largest-ever dope-testing exercise in the country, the Punjab Police on Thursday claimed that only around two per cent among thousands of candidates for police recruitment had tested positive for substance (drugs) abuse.
The Chairman of the Central Recruitment Board of Punjab Police, Additional Director General of Police (ADGP) Iqbal Preet Singh Sahota said the percentage of applicants who tested positive for drugs was a mere 1.30 per cent (2,185 candidates), while another 0.65 per cent (1,090) candidates tested positive for performance enhancing drugs.
Sahota said this “fully exposes the falsehood of allegations of 70 to 80 per cent Punjabi youth being drug addicts”.
He revealed that a total of 623,507 candidates were found eligible for the 7,416 posts of constables in the Punjab Police.
“Over 1.67 lakh youths have already taken the Substance Abuse Test (SAT) till August 10 and the process is going on,” Sahota said.
“The response is most encouraging and indicative of Punjabis’ general health and stamina. A total of 164,424 (which is 98 per cent of the candidates), have cleared the SAT,” Sahota added.
The Punjab government had ordered dope testing for all applicants for the police jobs.
“In one of the largest ever official samples available on the intensity of the drug menace in Punjab, the Punjab Police recruitment drive currently underway has exposed the allegations of alarming prevalence of drugs among Punjabi youths as wild, reckless and utterly irresponsible,” a Punjab government spokesman said on Thursday.
Sahota maintained that “the drug menace is not even an iota of what it has been made out to be in some quarters”.
The youths who tested positive have been disqualified from the recruitment process. However, of them, the 1,090 candidates found using performance enhancing drugs like Amphetamine have been permitted by the authorities to reappear in the recruitment test after a gap of seven days, Sahota said.
The dope testing procedure was started on July 27 for the police recruitment being conducted in Amritsar and Jalandhar.
Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal said earlier: “We want to show to the country that Punjab is being maligned by vested interests in the name of drugs.”
The ruling Shiromani Akali Dal, which has been in power in Punjab since 2007 in alliance with the BJP, and its leadership, is being openly accused by opposition Congress and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) of patronising the multi-million dollar drugs mafia in the state.
Studies in recent years have indicated widespread substance abuse by youths and in the state.
Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi had three years ago claimed that drugs abuse was rampant in Punjab with 70 per cent people being addicted.