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Spurious pesticide: Punjab acts against agriculture officers


By NewsGram staff witer

Chandigarh: On a day when Punjab’s agriculture director Mangal Singh Sandhu was arrested on charges of cheating and corruption in a multi-crore-rupee pesticide purchase scam, the state government placed him under suspension. Two other senior officers of the agriculture department have been chargesheeted.

“The Punjab government has placed director agriculture Mangal Singh Sandhu under suspension with immediate effect and the deputy director (cotton extension) Parminder Singh and then joint director agriculture Balwinder Singh Sohal have been chargesheeted as a major punishment under the Punjab Civil Services (Punishment and Appeal) Rules, 1970,” a spokesman of the Chief Minister’s Office said on Monday.

Sandhu, whose official residence was raided by a team of Punjab Police late on Sunday night, was arrested in the early hours of Monday and taken to Bathinda for further investigation. A court in Bathinda, 240 km from here, sent Sandhu to three days in police custody.

“The decision (to suspend Sandhu and chargesheet the others) has been taken in the wake of the enquiry report submitted to Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal this evening (Monday).

“The inquiry officer has reported serious irregularities and violations in purchase of pesticides by the director. As a result, the matter needs to be investigated further to ascertain reasons for such irregularities,” the spokesman said.

“The entire report has been referred to the director general of police (DGP) for further investigation since he has already constituted a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to look into spurious sale of pesticides in the state,” he said.

Divulging details of the inquiry report, the spokesman further revealed that the inquiry officer observed that then director agriculture preferred to purchase Oberan pesticide at his own level, thus ignoring the orders of Agriculture Minister Tota Singh.

The agriculture director also did not get the purchase examined technically, did not adopt e-tendering process and did not seek approval from the competent authority while exceeding his financial powers.



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Over Three Lakh Drug Addicts Treated By Punjab Police in 2018

The action plan named Comprehensive Action against Drug Abuse is aimed at choking the supply of drugs through enforcement and reducing the demand through de-addiction and prevention.

The action plan named Comprehensive Action against Drug Abuse is aimed at choking the supply of drug

Over three lakh drug addicts were treated in Punjab in 2018 and more than 63,000 people are currently being treated, out of which 25,000 are heroin addicts, a top police official said on Tuesday.

The retention rate is 91.71 per cent, Director General (Special Task Force) Mohammad Mustafa told reporters here.

The Special Task Force, constituted by the state in April 2017, has been implementing a three-pronged strategy of enforcement, de-addiction and prevention (EDP) to combat the menace of drugs.

The action plan named Comprehensive Action against Drug Abuse is aimed at choking the supply of drugs through enforcement and reducing the demand through de-addiction and prevention.

india-china trade
Generic drugs produced by Indian pharmaceutical companies make medicines affordable, but India says that China does not provide market access to its generic drugs. VOA

Mustafa said a multi-layered monitoring and implementing mechanism has been put in place. The Cabinet sub-committee on drugs headed by Chief Minister Amarinder Singh is monitoring it.

He said the outpatient treatment being rendered at 168 Outpatient Outpatient Opioid Assisted Treatment Clinics is a great success.

To make students aware about the ill-effects of drugs, the Buddy Project has been implemented.

Approximately five lakh Drug Abuse Prevention Officers have been registered, 1,500 cluster coordinators and 15,000 Nasha Roku Nigran Committees are being trained through 523 master trainers.

Over 3 lakh drug addicts treated in Punjab in 2018

Under this project, he said, 329 master trainers are training three lakh school teachers and college lecturers who will impart skills to approximately 40 lakh students.

He said 27 lakh students have already been covered.

A separate drug division is being set up in the Department of Health for efficient drug administration and better monitoring of de-addiction.

The Punjab Chief Minister in October 2018 sought a national drug policy to save the young generation, saying a comprehensive formula was needed at the central level to effectively check the drug abuse.

Punjab CM
Punjab CM Amarinder Singh

Earlier, six northern states unanimously decided to set up a common secretariat, to be based in Panchkula near Chandigarh, for data and information sharing, which was critical to the joint action.

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The states that have joined hands are Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Rajasthan and Delhi as also the Union Territory of Chandigarh.

The meeting accepted the suggestion of Amarinder Singh to hold regular meetings at various levels to tackle the problem and monitor the progress of the anti-drug fight. (IANS)