With seminars and sports events, the Punjab Police is spreading awareness about the perils of drug abuse among the youth, officials said on Saturday. In a first-of-its-kind initiative, police have also roped in Punjabi artistes, including singers and actors, to encourage youngsters to channel their energy in the right direction, they said.
A megacycle rally against drug abuse will be organised in Ludhiana on the martyrdom day of Shaheed Kartar Singh Sarabha on November 16, officials said.
Substance abuse has been a key issue in the past Assembly elections with the opposition parties always blaming the ruling party for having failed in eradicating the problem.
On August 15, 2023, Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann vowed to make Punjab a drug-free state by the next Independence Day.
Last month, Mann joined 35,000 school children in offering ‘ardas’ (prayer) at the Golden Temple in Amritsar to make Punjab a drug-free state and also exhorted the youth to come forward to give a final blow to the drug menace.
The students had also taken a pledge to stay away from drugs and live a healthy life.
Inspector General of Police (Headquarters) Sukhchain Singh Gill said creating awareness among youth against drugs is part of the multi-pronged strategy of the Punjab Police to check the drug menace in the state.
As part of this campaign, celebrities, non-government organisations, schools and colleges, among others have been roped in to create awareness against drugs. It is for the first time that such a drive is being carried out at this scale, said Gill.
Singers Kulwinder Singh Billa, Amit Bhalla, who is popularly known as Ninja, and actors Baninder Bani and Himanshi Khurana have been roped in for the campaign. Athlete and Arjuna awardee Tajinderpal Singh Toor, who won a gold medal in shot put at the recently held Asian Games in China will also be spreading the message against drug abuse, officials said.
While police in the Fazilka district have released a song about the detrimental effects of substance abuse and also highlights the police action against drug smugglers, their counterparts in Faridkot organised a seminar at an institute in which a film depicting the ill effects of drugs was shown to students.
A few days ago, Amritsar police organised a seminar against drugs which saw the participation of Supreme Court Judge Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul.
Amritsar Rural and Faridkot police have organised kabaddi, wrestling and basketball tournaments for the youth while the Amritsar and Barnala police organised a cricket match for women and a 10 km race, officials said.
Jalandhar police held a street play at a school to raise awareness against drugs among the youth while the Tarn Taran police organised a mini-marathon in which school students and police personnel participated.
According to Ludhiana police, the November 16 cycle rally will be the biggest in the country so far.
Additional Deputy Commissioner of Police Rupinder Kaur Sra said they are getting overwhelming responses from people across the state and outside it who want to participate in the rally.
“It is going to be a massive event,” she said.
Several celebrities, including actors and singers Guggu Gill, Karamjit Anmol, Gurnam Bhullar, and Harby Sangha, have been roped in for the event.
This cycle rally will become a catalyst in transforming the anti-drug campaign into a mass movement wherein thousands of youngsters will participate to express their solidarity against this menace, a Ludhiana police official said.
Some associations of bicycle manufacturers are even offering a 10 per cent discount on new bicycles, Sra said, adding several hotels in the area under her jurisdiction are offering 15-20 per cent discount on rooms to those who have registered for the rally.
Last month, Punjab Police said it arrested over 20,000 drug smugglers in the past 15 months during an anti-drug drive in the state. More than 1,600 kg of heroin, 924.29 kg of opium and 986 kg of ganja were also recovered during the operation.
Apart from this, police also seized and forfeited properties worth Rs 88 crore of drug smugglers.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)