Drugs In Punjab: Panchayats Minister Tript Bajwa sets another bar for cabinet colleagues

Jagtar Singh

Chandigarh, July  8: Punjab panchayats and rural development minister Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa has done it again. He has set the bar for his cabinet colleagues with the assertion that he would make his constituency Fatehgarh Churian in the border district of Gurdaspur drug free within six months.

He has followed it up with the announcement in the papers through advertisement to make Fatehgarh Churian first drug free constituency in the state at the time when Punjab has been rocked by spurt in drug related deaths.

This narrative has eclipsed the suicides by the distressed farmers under heavy debt.

It may be mentioned that it was Bajwa who had come up with the idea of dope test for everybody who is anybody. The MLAs cutting across party lines are rushing to hospitals to get clean chit.

That was the first bar he had set. He has put his colleagues to test with his second announcement that has substance. He has incentivised the campaign with village as a unit.

The target is not insurmountable. Every civil and police official in the constituency is posted either on the recommendation or with consent from the minister concerned. There is no reason as to why the administration in the constituency should look the other way.

The main issue is that is mobilising villages. It is known in almost every village and mohalla in town as to who is a druggist. Even the local peddlers are known. The families would need to be motivated to take the addict to drug de-addiction centres being run by the government. Such private centres are coercive.

The campaign to mobilise villages would have to be scientifically designed as rehabilitation after de-addiction is equally important aspect.

The government jerk reaction, however, has turned the campaign against drugs comical and bizarre.

One has to go back to the period when militancy hit Punjab. The most popular vehicle with the militants was the 3.5 hp Royal Enfield motorcycle. This also used to be the standard 2-wheeler with the defence and security forces at that time.

Punjab banned  Enfield motorcycle in Punjab for civilians.

Now several districts have banned the sale of syringes without prescription from the doctor. This is ridiculous as it could lead to more deaths due to multiple use of a single syringe.

The government so far has not come out with any comprehensive programme to deal with the menace that has been there for years but the crisis has now deepened like any other crisis that hits this now jinxed state.

The political leadership should first convince the people of its resolve and commitment to minimise this problem as it can’t be rooted out.

No big smuggler has been arrested by the police ever since the Congress replaced the Akali Dal in February, 2017. Rather it is the names of the senior police officers that have come up.

The nexus is deep. The Amarinder Singh government is now under pressure to wake up and act.

It is Bajwa who has come up with action plan. Wait for results.


Jagtar Singh


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