Centre formulating strategy to tackle drugs in Punjab: Shah

Union Home Minister Amit Shah

New Delhi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Thursday informed Chief Minister Amarinder Singh that the central government was formulating a detailed strategy to tackle the problem of drugs in Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir.

Shah made the disclosure when Amarinder Singh called on him this evening and reiterated his demand for a national drugs policy to combat the menace.

Thanking the Union Home Minister for the central government’s support for Punjab’s anti-drugs campaign, the Chief Minister sought attachment of additional Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) officers with Punjab, along with deputation of an Inspector General-level officer permanently in Chandigarh along with the Deputy Inspector General in Amritsar.

The Chief Minister urged Shah to press upon Pakistan the need to construct an overbridge over the Ravi river to facilitate devotees from travelling through the Sri Kartarpur Sahib Corridor in all seasons, without obstruction.

The link over Ravi has been stuck over Pakistan’s adamant insistence on building a causeway over the creek between the bridges being constructed by the two countries on their respective side.

The Chief Minister pointed out that a causeway as proposed by Islamabad would get flooded in the monsoon season, thus obstructing passage through the historic Corridor.

In response to a request from the Chief Minister, Shah agreed on exchange of three companies of central forces with IRB for the high-security jails in Punjab.

Amarinder Singh also stressed the need for modernization of the state police, and urged the Home Minister to provide funds under the MPF scheme.A

Punjab may be categorized as a Category-A State for financial assistance on 90:10 Centre-state sharing basis, on the pattern of Jammu and Kashmir and eight north-eastern states under the MPF Scheme, he suggested.

The Chief Minister also called for establishment of an National Security Guard hub at Pathankot, in addition to provision for SP Operations from Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) for 12 districts of the state.A

He pointed out that being a border state, Punjab was vulnerable to attacks and intrusions, and thus needed to be treated as a sensitive state from the perspective of national security.