Nearly 500 arrested in Punjab’s crackdown on drugs

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New Delhi, March 31 (IANS) Nearly 500 arrests have been made in the crackdown on drugs by the new government in Punjab in the past fortnight, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said here on Friday.

“The anti-drugs campaign kick-started by the government is yielding results. With 240 tip-offs received in just two days since the Punjab Police re-activated and advertised its 181 helpline for drugs, the number of arrests in drugs cases has gone up to nearly 500,” he told the media here.

An official spokesperson from the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) said that from March 16 to March 29, 497 drug traders and peddlers had been booked, with 449 cases registered under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act (NDPS) Act.

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Giving the break-up of the drugs seizures made during this period, the spokesperson said 4.034 kg heroin and 0.605 kg smack were recovered from those arrested.

Other seizures included 2.22 kg of charas, 24.46 kg of opium, 715.31 kg of poppy husk and 1.879 kg of bhang. The police have also recovered 12.519 kg of intoxicant powder, 1,576 injections, 1,11,893 pills/capsules, 72.78 kg of ganja and 133 syrup bottles.

The Amarinder Singh government has set up a Special Task Force (STF) under Additional Director General of Police (ADGP) Harpreet Sidhu to check the drug menace.

Amarinder said he had directed the police and intelligence departments, which are involved in the crackdown on drugs, to reach out to the people even more aggressively in the coming days to take their support in realising his government’s goal of wiping out the drugs menace from the state in four weeks.

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The new government assumed office on March 16.

The government has assured that the identity of anyone reporting any drugs related crime on the helpline would be protected, which has instilled confidence among the members of the public, who are coming out with information without fear, the Chief Minister said.

“The tip-offs received so far were being verified and stern action would be initiated in cases where the information is verified. Majority of the tip-offs received are related to information about sale points and people involved in drug trade. No drug user would be harassed by the police or other agencies,” he added.

Amarinder Singh, in the run up to the Punjab Assembly elections, had vowed to end the drugs menace in Punjab within four weeks of coming to power.

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