“Scientific data” from the screening for drug abuse at the police recruitment tests has defeated the “conspiracy” to project that drug abuse was widely prevalent in Punjab and defame the State, a spokesman for the government said on Monday.
Only a fraction of candidates have been tested positive for narcotics and other substances. Last week, even the few who tested postive were given a chance to “reappear” in the tests, and have mostly all tested negative now.
The restests took place on September 1 in three places. All 95 candidates reappearing in Fazilka tested negative.
All 45 in Ferozepur also tested negative, as did 14 out of 16 in Fategarh.
At Patiala recruitment centre, the restests were held on September 3 and 4 for a total of 30 candidates. All were declared negative.
The ruling Shiromani Akali Dal in Punjab, which has been under sharp criticism for not being able to control the spreadand extent of drug abuse in the State, sees these tests as the most representative survey of the prevalence of drug abuse in Punjab. Nearly six lakh aspirants had submitted applications for the recruitment drive for 7416 posts of constables, and about 4 lakh were given admit cards for the tests.
Deputy chief minister Sukhbir Badal had said the drug test on this vast number of candidates would once and for all settle the question of prevalence of substance abuse in the State. The recrutiment drive is on till September 25. He said it would be a totally transparent exercise,and anyone from media or public was free to witness the tests. Punjab had earlier rejected as “not authentic” a study by AIIMS that showed 2.3 lakh opoid dependents on four times as many opoid users.
The recruits are all being subjected to a five-layer drug/substance abuse screening.Only those who test negative are allowed to proceed for physical screening, measurement tests and other tests like the mile run and long jump.
As per latest figures obtained by The Indian Express, out of nearly 3.37 lakh aspirants who have so far been tested at the recruitment centres, less than 4,700 tested positive in the dope test, which is about 1.39 percent. The recruitment drive has concluded in 14 out of 27 centres and authorities hope to complete the drive by September 25. According to an official associated with recruitments, the new recruits will be taken in to the police force at the beginning of October. An aspirant testing positive is given another chance to reappear.
“There was a panel of doctors at the centre, who would refer aspirants who tested positive to a government hospital psychiatrist for treatment. At least after a gap of five days after undergoing treatment, an aspirant was elgibile to reappear again for the dope test. Majority of those who reappeared passed the test by testing negative in second attempt,” said H S Atwal, Superintendent of Police (Traffic) at Mohali, where the drive has already ended.
“The drug test statistics in the recruitment drive have shown that the systematic campaign against Punjab over drugs issue was malafide. This was political conspiracy against the state. The opposition stooped so low that it went on to label 70 percent of Punjabis as drug addicts. The conspiracy has been defeated by scientific data now,” said SAD spokesperson Daljit Singh Cheema.
About 4 lakh applicants were issued admit cards and have been called for tests until now, a drop out rate of 17 percent. Punjab police officials associated with the recruitment drive, however, say that the said dropout rate was “normal” in “any recruitment drive”.