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Wednesday, August 04, 2021

Punjab: A blitzkrieg in works to showcase government crackdown on drugs

On Saturday, a virtual conference event, to be chaired by Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh, will be telecast in around 4,000 locations across the state — a majority of which will be schools and educational institutions.

Written by Navjeevan Gopal | Chandigarh |
Updated: June 25, 2021 9:16:25 am
Kirti Chakra winner’s widow denied annuity after second marriage; Amarinder assures policy reviewThe CM added his government was committed to ensuring regular supply of power at subsidised rates to the state’s agricultural, domestic and industrial consumers. (File)

The Congress government in Punjab has planned to “showcase its crackdown” on drugs on a “massive scale” on International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking on Saturday (June 26).

On Saturday, a virtual conference event, to be chaired by Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh, will be telecast in around 4,000 locations across the state — a majority of which will be schools and educational institutions.

The Congress government has also planned to turn the event into a media blitzkrieg, and the public relations department has been asked to record the testimonials and photos of the participants at each virtual conference location for PR purposes in the future.

The Indian Express has learnt that the proposed event, which will be held close on the heels of Congress high command telling the Punjab Chief Minister to implement 18 key poll promises — including cracking down on drug cartels in a timeframe — includes live streaming of the destruction of seized drugs during Captain Amarinder’s virtual conference.

Also proposed are addresses to be made by Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee chief, Sunil Jakhar, Punjab Youth Congress chief, Brinder Singh Dhillon, Health and Family Welfare Minister, Balbir Singh Sidhu. The state Chief Secretary, the chief of the anti-drug Special Task Force, the Director General of Police, a girl student from a rural school in Doaba, a girl student from a University in Malwa, a lady school teacher from Majha, a male rehabilitated addict from a rural area in Malwa and a member of Nasha Nigran Committee from a village in Malwa will also address the virtual conference.

It is proposed that the event shall be simultaneously telecast through video conferencing in all district and sub-divisional headquarters, all universities, including private ones, and at around 4000 urban and rural locations. All MPs, ministers, MLAs, Vice Chancellors, deputy commissioners, Sub-Divisional Magistrates, Mayors, principals, chairpersons, and members of Zila Parishads and Panchayat Samiti representatives and Sarpanches will preside over the respective virtual conference locations.

Some Congress leaders The Indian Express talked to, however, said they were yet to receive any intimation regarding the event, even as a government functionary said all the participants would be informed by Friday.

Congress Member of Parliament in Rajya Sabha Partap Singh Bajwa said he had not been informed about the June 26 event and added that such an exercise was futile. “Two envelopes carrying details of a drug cartel in Punjab are lying sealed in the High Court. The court got those inquiries done from a DGP rank and an ADGP rank officer. The envelopes contain information about the drug cartel in the state, which destroyed a generation of youth and dented the image of Punjab nationally and internationally. Instead of doing this [organising an event to mark International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking], had the government made efforts to get those sealed envelopes opened, it would have been much better.”

Jakhar, when contacted, said he was yet to get any intimation about the event, but added, “If my name is there, I will surely make an address.”

PYC Chief Dhillon said, “I may be told about the event tomorrow (Friday). Generally, they convey details a day ahead of such events.”

Meanwhile, during the virtual conference event, Amritsar Police Commissioner Sukhchain Singh Gill will also make an address detailing the procedure for the destruction of seized drugs. Initially, four locations were selected to live stream the destruction of drugs — Amritsar, Mansa, Zirakpur and Kapurthala. However, as per a government functionary, keeping in view “logistics issues pertaining to live streaming from four locations”, it was eventually decided to destroy the drugs seized from across all the districts at Amritsar only.

Gill said over the phone, “An incinerator at Khanna Paper Mill has been requisitioned for the destruction of the seized drugs.”

The event will end with an address by the Chief Minister and a vote of thanks by the Education Minister.

The address by the STF chief wills also include a short video on “efforts against drugs” prepared by the office of Additional Chief Secretary Home Affairs and Justice. During the event, the CM would also launch a one-week statewide awareness drive on drugs through school and college students.

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