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Punjab CM Amarinder Singh writes to MHA, recommends death penalty for first-time drug peddlers

Chandigarh: Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh Wednesday wrote to Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh recommending death penalty for first-time drug smugglers and peddlers, an official spokesperson said.

The decision to send a formal recommendation to the Centre to initiate the process of amending the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substance (NDPS) Act, 1985, was taken on Monday in a Punjab Cabinet meeting chaired by the chief minister.

 Punjab CM Amarinder Singh writes to MHA, recommends death penalty for first-time drug peddlers

File image of Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh. AFP

In his letter, Amarinder Singh stressed on the need to strengthen the existing enforcement measures to provide for more deterrent punishment to the offenders.

The Punjab chief minister pointed out that the NDPS Act, in its current form, provides for death penalty if certain offences are committed twice.

This, the chief minister said, meant that a person can get away with these offences at least once, causing substantial damage to the youth and the society.

This should not be allowed and death penalty should be awarded to first-time offenders for offences elaborated in Section 31A of the NDPS Act, Amarinder Singh further said in the letter.

He added his government felt that resultant deterrence of provision of death penalty in the Act would help in effectively containing, if not eliminating, the drug peddlers and mafia.

Apprising Rajnath Singh of the magnitude of the drug problem in Punjab, Amarinder Singh said drug dealing and peddling had caused serious strains on Punjab's human and economic resources.

These, he said, were obstacles in the state's socio-economic development.

"The menace of drugs is affecting the present generation of youth not only in Punjab but also in the neighbouring states," Amarinder Singh pointed out.

He urged Rajnath Singh to advise the concerned officials in the Union home ministry to pursue the Punjab government's proposal to amend the NDPS Act to save the youth and the society from the menace of drugs.

Amarinder Singh also elaborated on the various measures undertaken by his government to enforce the existing laws against drug abuse and for rehabilitation and de-addiction.

He said the intensive action plan executed by his government over the last year has resulted in the arrest of 18,977 drug peddlers and treatment of two lakh people.

According to the letter, more than 3,977 NDPS convicts and 5,610 NDPS undertrials are in different prisons of the state.

The letter further said that the state government had undertaken a mass awareness initiative, Drug Abuse Prevention Officers (DAPO) programme.

The programme is aimed at ensuring effective participation of the civil society in the prevention of drug abuse in the state, the letter said.

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Updated Date: Jul 04, 2018 21:52:27 IST