Days after constituting a Special Task Force (STF) to curb the drug menace in Punjab, the Congress-led state government today issued a notification to give a formal shape to its terms of reference and broad functions. Given the criticality of its objectives and the stringent timelines, the STF headed by ADGP Harpreet Singh Sidhu, has already initiated the work in this regard with Chief Minister Amarinder Singh giving Sidhu a free hand to fight the scourge.
However, the department of Home Affairs has now formalised the structure and framework for the STF to work in, an official spokesperson said here. “Besides ensuring criminal prosecution of all those indulging in drug peddling, supply and distribution, the STF has been tasked with rehabilitation (of drug addicts), creation of mass awareness campaign and people’s participation in curbing the menace.
“To this end, the STF will develop strategies to enforce the law against drug-trafficking, prevent drug abuse, rehabilitate the drug victims and co-ordinate with other governmental agencies and police units to achieve this objective,” he said.
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The STF will work in coordination with the district police, GRP and other police units and supervise the registration and investigation of cases under the charter of STF.
Further, the force will recommend disciplinary action and/or criminal action against police and officials of other departments found involved in illegal activities related to drug trafficking.
It has also been assigned the task to collect technical/human intelligence and maintain surveillance in accordance with the existing provisions of law; plan and execute special operations against drug traffickers through special STF teams and also in association with other units of Punjab Police as well as other departments of the government, the spokesman said. “Steps to ensure enforcement of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act, 1985 and all related criminal and civil laws in order to sever the drug supply lines by taking stringent action against drug suppliers, dealers and peddlers is a key agenda for the STF.
“To further its agenda, the task force will coordinate with various Central agencies including MHA, NCB, ED, IB, Cabinet Secretariat, etc. for effective enforcement of the Prevention of Illicit Traffic under NDPS Act,” he added.