Assam Police are moving ahead with a three-pronged strategy to break the drug cartel flourishing in the ‘Golden Triangle’ and bring those caught into the trap back on the track, said GP Singh, IPS and Special DGP, Law and Order, and Director, Vigilance and Anti-Corruption, on Friday in an exclusive interview to Bureaucrats India (www.bureaucratsindia.in).
“Youths in particular and common people in general are determined to eradicate the menace of drug abuse from Assam. The ‘Team Assam’ is working in a coordinated manner with all stakeholders. We are confident that the North East states youths would fly high by being partners of development and not taking drugs,” he told Dr Navneet Anand, Editor in Chief of Bureaucrats India.
Singh said that going with the Assam government’s mission of breaking the drug menace in its 100 days of government under the dynamic leadership of Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, the police are working on a three-pronged strategy – reducing the supply, demand of drugs and its harm.
“If the cartel is strategically broken, then naturally the supply will fall. We are also working on cutting demand by several ways and also harm reduction by taking the youths to the rehabilitation centres,” he said, adding in past 100 days the Assam police had made huge seizures worth over Rs 200 crore in the international market.
Giving credit to Assam’s CM Himanta Biswa Sarma for driving the campaign, Singh said he had rarely seen a CM having such zeal to work hard. “The CM has tremendous knowledge of the state and is a hard task master. He has his goals clear,” he said. It is worth mentioning that the Assam Government led by Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma completed its 100-day on Friday.
Praising the Assam police for their coordinated effort, he said, “The police force that has faced bullets for over 30 years is fearless and working in a team spirit with other departments.”
Citing the example of the dedication of Assam police, he said that disclosure of a Home Guard jawan, who was offered Rs 1 lakh bribe by a bus driver, led to the seizure of a large amount of drugs. “The government honoured him by absorbing him in the Assam Police and he was even given CM’s Award for outstanding service,” Singh responded to Rajeev R, Editor of Bureaucrats India.
Singh said that about 80 per cent of nexus that worked to make Guwahati as a transit point for drugs coming from ‘Golden Triangle’ had been broken. “Yet, lots more work has to be done. The history of drugs business is very old and the channel that originates from Laos, East Asian countries and Myanmar passes through North Eastern states. The challenge is not to curb the local menace but knocking off the national and international cartels that work with money funded by many agencies. However, the best part is that all the seven North Eastern states are working in a coordinated manner and are strongly against it,” he said.
Acknowledging the cooperation of Central agencies, Singh, an Assam cadre IPS officer, who earlier headed key units in SPG and was also involved in major terrorist operations in Kashmir and other parts of the country while being part of NIA, said that agencies like Narcotics Control Bureau and Intelligence Bureau were cooperating in identifying the ‘trouble spots and agencies working for them.’ “The challenge is tough here, as there is convergence of drugs and wild life syndicates and extremists,” said Singh.
“Union Home Minister Amit Shah during his recent visit had reviewed the preparedness of all agencies in tackling the drug menace. Discussion was also held on backward and forward linkages,” he said.
Applauding the support of local people, he said the mission of tightening the noose around the drug cartel would not have been possible without the support of parents and members of civil society. “People come with complaints of youth taking to drugs. Now-a-days, people are informing us on social media channels and to police control rooms. There is total cooperation from people, who have seen ruining of families and increase of crime because of drugs. We won’t let down the aspirations of people down and assure that Assam youths will fly high by becoming partners of development,” he said.
To a question on the rising police and people gap, he said the police’s job was to maintain law and order and responding to any emergency. “If the police stick to the basic job of maintaining law and order, the rest things will fall in line,” Singh said, adding the young lot of the officers of the country were bright and lots of works were being done on capacity building.
He, however, expressed concern that the officers were hard pressed and overburdened. “On an average if one officer is handling about 250 cases of investigation, it is too much. If investigated properly, an officer can probe up to three-four cases in a month. Now, imagine the kind of pressure he or she is undergoing,” he said.
Singh, who is originally from Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh, gave credit to all his success to his mother and father and his supportive family. “The seed of joining civil service was sown by my father whom I lost to cancer in 2003 and my mother passed away in 2017. My family including my wife, who quit civil service to look after the family, has been tremendously supportive. I remember roaming in jungles for weeks and my wife waiting at doorstep awake for many days,” Singh added.
Singh, who worked with two former Prime Ministers — Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Dr Manmohan Singh — described them as outstanding personalities. “I learned a lot while working with the two PMs, especially their working style gave me an opportunity to learn a lot. Even former Assam Chief Minister Hiteshwar Saikia was a hard taskmaster,” he said.
Singh also thanked his seniors including PV Sumanta, AK Singh, BB Wangchuk, N Ramachandran, who did the handholding for him. He also acknowledged the contribution of his juniors, who protect him, as he has been given ‘Z’ category security.