Sukhu advocates for giving more power to states under NDPS Act besides life imprisonment to peddlers

While laying emphasis on the need to grant more powers to States in order to effectively combat the drug mafia, Chief Minister Thakur Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu suggested for amending the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act to effectively crack down on the drug mafia. The Chief Minister called for a provision in the NDPS Act to enable the confiscation of properties of drug peddlers. The Chief Minister stated this in his virtual address during the regional conference on ‘Drug smuggling and National Security’ organized at New Delhi and chaired by Union Home Minister Amit Shah.

Concerned at the slow pace of conviction of the drug peddlers in around 10 such drug-related cases in Himachal transferred to Enforcement Directorate the Chief Minister advocated for a need to delegate the powers of confiscation to the States. Furthermore, he also asked to enhance the punishment for drug offences from five years to life imprisonment and making the offence cognizable and non-bailable regardless of the quantity involved as well as making provision of a fine of rupees five lakh and confiscation of properties as well. He emphasized the importance of addressing drug overdose cases leading to deaths and stressed for necessary changes in this regard in the Act.

The Chief Minister also urged the Union Government to establish a zonal office of the Narcotics Control Bureau and a Modern Hi-Tech Jail in Kullu district of the state. He also asked for setting up a Modern Forensic Laboratory and Mobile Lab in the State to accelerate the investigation of cases. He also sought liberal financial assistance from the Central Government for operating Drug De-addiction Centres in the State.

Sh. Sukhu reiterated that the state government has been taking significant steps to curb the drug menace with sensitivity in view of the increasing drug menace in the state.  He said that a resolution against drug abuse has been passed in the state Vidhan Sabha and shared statistics indicating a substantial increase in the number of FIRs (First Information Reports) by 40 percent followed by 34 percent of arrests and 50 percent seizure of psychotropic substances within the state. “Himachal Pradesh is among the few States in the country employing preventive detention measures to combat the problem effectively and has also constituted an Advisory Board in this regard”, the Chief Minister said.

The meeting was attended by Governors, Chief Ministers, Deputy Chief Ministers and senior officers from various States, and Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister Bharat Khera, DGP Sanjay Kundu, Commissioner of State Taxes and Excise Department, Yunus, ADGPs Satwant Atwal and Abhishek Trivedi, Principal Private Secretary to the Chief Minister Vivek Bhatia, Special Secretary State Taxes and Excise Harbans Singh Brascon and other senior officers of the State Government were present at Shimla.

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