STF CHIEF SIDHU TAKES CHARGE, GIVEN FREE HAND BY CM
Chandigarh, March 27
Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has ordered the newly-constituted Special Task Force (STF), headed by ADGP Harpreet Sidhu, to go all-out to wipe out the drugs scourge from the state within the stipulated time of four weeks, without sparing anyone found complicit in the trade.
The Chief Minister has given a free hand to Sidhu to take all measures he deemed fit to rid the state of this deadly curse which had destroyed a whole generation of Punjab’s youth under the erstwhile Badal regime. He will, however, personally monitor the progress of the STF on a day-to-day basis to ensure that his government fulfils the drugs eradication promise within the four-week time-frame.
Sidhu formally took charge of the STF on Monday with a vow to deliver on the government’s promise. A 1992 batch IPS officer, he was engaged in anti-Naxal operations in Chhattisgarh, where he was on CRPF deputation, before being called in to head the anti-drugs STF in Punjab. He was the recipient of the President’s Medal for Gallantry Services in 2003.
The STF has been mandated with the task of day-to-day monitoring of the steps taken or to be taken to check the trading and consumption of drugs, particularly chitta, in the state.
Directing them to deal with the menace of drugs with an iron fist, the Chief Minister told a meeting of the top police brass, led by Sidhu, that his government was committed to fulfilling its poll promise of wiping out the problem within four weeksand would not tolerate any laxity in the matter.
According to an official spokesperson, the Chief Minister directed the STF to take public help in identifying and arresting the traders and suppliers of drugs in the state. A 24X7 helpline service is in place and anyone can call on 181 to report any drugs related incident with total protection of his identity.
Stringent punishment should be initiated against those found engaged in the drugs business without any leniency, the Chief Minister has directed the STF, warning of strict action against anyone found guilty of shielding the drug mafia or protecting the drugs dealers/traders in any manner.
The decision to constitute the STF was taken by the Captain Amarinder Singh government at the maiden meeting of the cabinet, just two days after taking over the reins of the state. The cabinet had also directed the State Home Department to submit a proposal, at its next meeting, for issuing an ordinance for Confiscation of Drug Dealers’ Property, as promised in the Congress election manifesto.
The Cabinet further decided on stringent and exemplary action for peddlers and traders, while treating drugs users with compassion and ensuring their rehabilitation.