Punjab Chief Electoral Officer VK Singh on 14 December 2016 announced that the State electoral machinery has formulated a special action plan to contain the drug menace during the upcoming State Legislative Assembly elections.
The elections are expected to be held in early 2017 for 117 assembly segments.
Key elements of the action plan
• The plan will be prepared by the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) with the help of state and national agencies.
• The focus of the plan is to stop the use of drugs to influence the voters during elections.
• For its effective implementation, coordinating and monitoring committees will be set up at the district level.
• These committees will be headed by the Deputy Commissioners of the respective district.
• A Senior Superintendent of Police officer, a representative from Narcotic Control Bureau, a civil surgeon and representatives from the direct and indirect tax agencies will be the members of the committee.
• The committee will follow a two-pronged strategy viz., monitoring of law enforcement processes and intensive public awareness campaigns.
• The committee will be given powers to raise any issue related to implementation and coordination with higher-level committees and the election authority.
What are the causes for Punjab drug problem?
• The distress in the agrarian sector coupled with growing unemployment and lack of alternative jobs for the youth pushing them towards consumption of alcohol and use of drugs.
• Nexus between the politicians, businessmen and bureaucrats is greatly contributing to the problem.
• Its proximity to Afghanistan which produces around 90 percent of the world’s opium is also an important reason for the spread of drug menace in the state.
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