Chandigarh, Jun 19 (PTI) Chief Minister Amarinder Singh today appealed to the opposition to join hands with the government to root out drugs menace from Punjab and warned those involved in the drugs business of stringent action.

Summing up and replying to the debate on the Governor s address in the state Assembly here, Amarinder warned all those involved in the drugs business to quit and live as normal citizens.

He claimed that most drug traffickers have either left the state or become dormant, having lost the patronage of the government enjoyed by them during the previous regime.

He reaffirmed his government’s commitment to zero tolerance for smugglers, dealers, police and civil officials, politicians and other persons involved in drug trafficking.

“We may be late but surely drugs will be obliterated from Punjab,” Amarinder said.

Elaborating on the work being done by the Special Task Force (STF) set up by his government to deal with the problem, he informed the House that till June 13, the STF, along with the police, had registered 3,845 cases under the NDPS Act.

In addition, 4,438 persons, including some police officials who were abetting such activities, have been arrested.

He cited the examples of Inspector Inderjit Singh and ASI Ajaib Singh, who had been arrested for their alleged complicity in drugs cases and said 58 kg heroin had been recovered, besides other banned substances.

He claimed that the government had broken the back of the drug-smugglers and checked nexus between smugglers, the police and other persons in power.

He said an early assessment of the All India Association of Pharmaceutical Companies had indicated that supplies of Schedule-H drugs/prescription drugs, which were misused in the state to produce synthetic drugs, has gone down by 40 per cent during the last three months.

He claimed that these positive results did not make him complacent but reflected his government’s determination not to allow support to drug traffickers and peddlers as done by the previous government.

All those who are involved or abetting this nefarious business will be brought to book, whether outside or within the government set-up, he warned.

He claimed that the drug de-addiction centers set up by the previous government at a cost of over Rs 200 crore had failed and said his government proposed to create a mass campaign against drug abuse and trafficking, and to bring drug traffickers to justice.

“They have no right to play with the lives of our youth and we shall not tolerate them at any cost,” he said.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.