As part of the crackdown on the drug menace, a key pre-poll promise of the Congress, the state government is also looking at bringing an ordinance that will pave way for the confiscation of the ill-gotten wealth of drug dealers by the authorities.
"Punjab cabinet decided to set up a Special Task Force (STF) in the Chief Minister's office to prepare and implement a comprehensive programme to eliminate drugs from the state, as promised by the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) in its election manifesto," an official spokesman said here.
The decision was taken in the first meeting of the cabinet which was chaired by chief minister Amarinder Singh and attended by all the nine ministers.
The cabinet also decided to direct the State Home Department submit a proposal, in its next meeting, for the promulgation of an ordinance to bring in force the Confiscation of Drug Dealers Property Act.
The proposed legislation will pave way for the authorities to confiscate the properties and assets of those found guilty of trading or dealing in drugs.
The cabinet decided to take up the elimination of drugs from the state on top priority, said the spokesperson.
It was also decided that the STF would monitor, on a day-to-day basis, the measures taken or to be taken to check the supply and consumption of drugs in the state.
Expressing concern at the widespread use of drugs, especially 'chitta', which had destroyed an entire generation of youth in Punjab, the cabinet decided that a vigorous campaign to educate young people, and to rehabilitate drug users with compassion would be initiated immediately.
It was also decided that anyone who registers at the District De-addiction Centers would be treated with compassion, free of cost, and no case would be registered against such persons.
Instead, the State Police would take stringent action against drug dealers and peddlers to ensure that the drugs were obliterated from the state forthwith, the cabinet decided, according to an official spokesperson.
In its poll manifesto Congress had announced to wipe out drug trade within a month of its assuming office. The party had then said that it would adopt zero tolerance policy for smugglers, peddlers, police officials, politicians, bureaucrats of any rank or who indulge in drugs trafficking.