Chandigarh: Punjab’s Leader of Opposition (LoP) and senior AAP leader Sukhpal Singh Khaira has questioned Chief Minister Amarinder Singh’s recent order that all government employees and police personnel of the state should undergo a dope test annually to curb the rampant drugs menace in the state.
In a letter to Amarinder on Saturday, Khaira questioned the logic behind the dope test order and said that crores of rupees would be wasted in the entire exercise which would divert the attention from the core problem of drug abuse in Punjab.
“What is the point of having all the approximately 3 lakh government employees to undertake the dope test? Particularly woman employees, clerks etc., who have no connection with the drug trafficking menace. I am told that if all state employees were to take a dope test it will cost the public exchequer Rs 17-18 crore annually,” Khaira, who sent a copy of his own dope test to the Chief Minister, pointed out in his letter.
Amarinder had, on Wednesday, ordered mandatory annual dope test for all Punjab government employees, including police personnel.
“The said controversial dope test order can also create an embarrassing position for aged politicians and officers who may have been taking opioid-based drugs for their medical treatment, that can lead to the test being positive,” Khaira said, adding that political leaders were making a beeline to get the dope test done to avoid controversy.
“The focus of debate has shifted from the real issue of drug mafia having deep connections with the police officers of the state, to a non-issue of dope test,” Khaira added.
Urging the Chief Minister “to reconsider the en mass dope test of all government employees”, Khaira said that this was virtually eclipsing the main problem of drug abuse.
He said that instead of subjecting the government staff to dope testing, it should be conducted upon officers of the police force and not the entire police constabulary or the lower ranks.
“The dope tests should be conducted randomly with a surprise element, as it is highly impossible to get a positive result by voluntary methods,” Khaira said.
He said the availability of drugs was rampant across Punjab despite claims made by the Congress government that the backbone of the drugs trade had been broken.
“I reiterate that you should reconsider the blanket dope test order, that has added confusion to the issue and misdirected the actual debate and solutions to the drug menace,” Khaira said.