Mumbai: Almost two-thirds of Punjab’s households have at least one addict in the family. The state has 836 drug users per 100,000 people as per the findings of the Union ministry of social justice and empowerment and this is way above the national average of 250 drug users per 100,000 people.
The problem is so deep that the 2017 Assembly elections in the state were fought in the name of drugs. The Akaliregime which was largely seen as the ‘patrons’ of the billion rupees drug industry was booted out and Captain Amarinder Singh of the Congress came to power. His main promise this election was to weed out drugs from Punjab within a month.
But close to 90 days later, the CNN-News18 investigation showed how drugs and the peddlers continues to thrive in the hinterland of Punjab. They took the investigation to the districts close to the international border, the Majha region of the state where they have exposed the flourishing drug industry in 2016. It reveals that hardly anything has changed here since the change in the government. Mukhtiar Singh Patti, of Tarn Taran who lost his son to drugs and has since turned into an anti-drug activist tells CNN-News18 ‘Nothing has changed with the change in government. Only difference is the drug prices have now’
CNN-NEWS18 spent over 2 weeks traveling through the Majha region of Punjab. For the first couple of days it appeared that the state has actually moved on from drugs and the peddlers are running scared. But the probe team realized soon that the game has changed.The mafia is omnipresent but they have stopped trusting outsiders.Thus the channel’s team used a reformed drug addict as their conduit with those selling the contrabands and in just three days they were in touch with three local dealers.
Of the three we were told Baaju is the big fish of Patti, from a small dose to a gram and more he is always there with the supplies. Gurudev is officially a truck driver but also uses the truck as his delivery vehicle, supplying drugs across Punjab. The CNN-News18 investigative team managed to capture both these peddlers on camera. There was another dealer, Shinder, who backed out at the last moment and hence evaded the camera. Striking the deal was easy and rather simple.
In spite of a heightened police action in the cities, the Punjab hinterland stays as badly hit by drugs as ever. The team, while travelling through the state, noticed that prescription drugs are difficult to get.The police crackdown in the cities did have some impact but the delivery remains a far cry from the complete annihilation of drugs promised by Captain Amarinder Singh, Chief Minister of Punjab.
The sting operation was done by ShubhajitSengupta of CNN-News18 and the same will be aired at 6PM on 13th June.