Cabinet sub-committee has also been formed under the chairmanship of the CM, with the special working group mandated to report directly to it.
Chandigarh: Faced with criticism from several quarters over alleged spate of deaths due to drug overdose in the state, the Punjab Cabinet, led by chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh, on Monday decided to recommend to the Centre death penalty for drug peddlers and smugglers.
“My govt has decided to recommend the death penalty for drug peddling/smuggling. The recommendation is being forwarded to the Union government. Since drug peddling is destroying entire generations, it deserves exemplary punishment. I stand by my commitment for a drug free Punjab,” tweeted the chief minister.
A formal recommendation for harsher punishments will soon be sent to the Union government, an official spokesman said, adding that the Cabinet has also decided to constitute a sub-committee to review the state’s rehabilitation programme for addicts.
There is widespread outrage over the deaths of youths in several parts of Punjab because of drug overdose and a campaign against drugs called “Black week against Chitta” is being observed by activists since July 1.
The Cabinet also decided to constitute a special working group under the chairmanship of additional chief secretary (home) N.S. Kalsi to review and monitor, on a day-to-day basis, the action being taken to check and control drug abuse.
A Cabinet sub-committee has also been formed under the chairmanship of the chief minister, with the special working group mandated to report directly to it.
Before the meeting started, all members of the Cabinet observed a two-minute silence as a mark of respect to the Sikhs killed in a terror attack in Afghanistan, as well as the youths who have died due to drug overdose and the farmers who have committed suicide in the state.
Local government minister Navjot Singh Sidhu expressed concern over the public perception that the state government had not succeeded in eliminating the drug menace.
As a corrective measure, advocate-general Atul Nanda mooted the creation of a special cadre of at least 15 well-trained prosecutors to secure speedy conviction of drug offenders.
Opposition parties, including the AAP and SAD, have been criticising the 15-month old Amarinder Singh-led Congress government for allegedly failing to contain drug menace in the state despite promising before Assembly polls that the party will wipe out drugs within four weeks of coming to power.