In terms of crime, Punjab is at the fourth place in the country. It left behind UP and Bihar long time ago, said Director-General of Police (DGP)Suresh Arora.He said: “In my 33-year-long service, I have worked with the governments of both the SAD and the Congress. It is not right to link any government with the drug menace. It has not evolved in a day nor can it be uprooted overnight. It is important that people join hands with the police to eradicate the scourge.”The DGP today visited several villages in Nawanshahr and Hoshiarpur as part of his ongoing anti-drug campaign in the state. The villages he visited in Nawanshahr are notorious for drug trade in the Doaba region.‘Sale of chitta rampant’Residents of Jabbowal and Langroya villages in Nawanshahr told Arora that the sale of chitta (synthetic drug) was rampant in the area and women and children from poor families were peddling drugs.

Arora was accompanied by IGP Lok Nath Angra, SSP Snehdeep Sharma and other senior officials from the district. Villagers told them that many had become rich overnight and had recently constructed big houses with income from the drug trade.The DGP said the police had begun an investigation wherein they were collecting information about people who had reportedly become rich overnight.“Don’t get lured by big houses constructed in your neighbourhood as you may soon found them sealed,” he cautioned people while addressing a gathering at a village gurdwara.At a public meeting at Langroya village, sarpanch Surinder Kumar told the DGP that they were facing a threat since the panchayats had adopted a zero-tolerance approach against drug peddlers and had stopped signing their parole and bail applications.

Image-building exercise?

Refusing to accept it as a genuine initiative by the police, villagers termed the drive a mere “image-building exercise undertaken by the police to improve the government’s image ahead of the 2017 elections.