Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh Wednesday sought support and assistance from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) to fight the drug menace in the state. While delivering the keynote address at the inauguration of a three-day regional workshop on 'Combating Illicit Trafficking of Afghan Opiates: Developing a Comprehensive Approach' organised here by the UNODC. He said the drug menace was a "strategic conspiracy unleashed from across the international border". Rivulets in Punjab were being used to smuggle drugs as part of a strategic agenda that went beyond commercial reasons, he said. Expressing the confidence that his government would succeed in destroying the drugs business, he called for team work to battle the problem, and said the UNODC could play a pivotal role in this.
While the Special Task Force and other agencies had been successful in catching mid-level peddlers, the big suppliers need to be apprehended too, he said, adding "we owe this to our future generations." He said it was a very critical issue, that had been going for a long time in Punjab. The state had seen a shift from traditional use of marijuana to synthetic stuff, which was posing a major threat. The seizure of a consignment that had come from Mandavi in Gujarat into Punjab clearly suggested that the aim of the drug smugglers was to starve the Indian Army of precious manpower, thus weakening the country's defence apparatus, Singh said. The STF set up to tackle the menace had shown remarkable results, he said, adding that 18,216 cases have been registered under the NDPS Act since April 1, 2017 and 21,489 persons arrested.