CHANDIGARH: From cops to civil servants, all 3.5 lakh government employees in Punjab will now have to take periodic dope tests.
For a state that chose to live in denial for so long about the proliferation of drugs, Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh has swung to other extreme to crack the nexus with officials by ordering mandatory dope tests for them.
The screening will be done during recruitment, promotion, and at the annual medical examination, some employees need to face.
Chief Secretary Karan Avtar Singh has been directed to work out the modalities and have a notification issued in this regard.
The order came on a day when the chief minister formally told the Union government that his Cabinet sought an urgent amendment to the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act, 1985, to award death penalty to first-time drug smugglers and peddlers too.
As of now, death penalty is awarded only if certain offences are committed a second time. This means a person can indulge in these nefarious activities and get away at least once, causing substantial damage to the youth and society, the chief minister lamented in a letter to Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh.
“Given the magnitude of the problem, which had been denied during the last many years, these enforcement measures, though yielding results, need to be further strengthened. In this direction, it is felt that the existing drug prevention and control laws should be revisited to provide for more deterrent punishment to the offenders,” Amarinder wrote.
He also pointed out that more than 3,977 NDPS convicts and 5,610 NDPS under-trials were in prisons across the state.
The drug menace is also affecting neighbouring states, he added.