Britain has offered technical assistance to Punjab in the enforcement of the drug control measures launched by the Captain Amarinder Singh government, while evincing keen interest to scale up business engagement with the north Indian state.
The issues came up for discussion at a meeting here between Punjab CM Amarinder Singh and British Deputy High Commissioner to India Andrew Ayre, who invited the chief minister to visit UK to meet industrialists for attracting investments to the state.
The British envoy also offered assistance to Punjab in the training and modernisation of the police force, as well as in handling cyber crime, with the two sides agreeing to explore mutual cooperation across a wide range of subjects, including law and order, industrial development, agriculture, dairy farming, animal sex embryo transfer etc.
Captain Amarinder also suggested working together in the fields of urban management, civil services, transportation in big cities, among other areas, according to an official spokesperson.
The British envoy said his government was looking to raise Punjab to the highest category in terms of business cooperation, for which the two sides could identify several important areas. Noting that his government was in the process of eliminating red tapism and promoting ease of doing business in the state, the Chief Minister directed officials of his government to arrange a meeting with British officials to identify areas of mutual cooperation.
Pointing out that the previous Akali regime had turned a blind eye to the drugs problem, Amarinder said his government had made significant advances in arresting the flow of drugs and the STF was on the verge of cracking down on some big fish. He reiterated that India needed a comprehensive national drug policy, which he had already raised with the central government.
It was decided at the meeting that the chief of the Special Task Force (STF) on drugs would meet British enforcement experts to discuss cooperation in fighting the drugs menace in Punjab, in view of the smuggling of drugs into and out of India to other countries.
The two sides also discussed law and order problems and the financial crisis facing Punjab, with the Chief Minister apprising the British envoy of the work done by his government to tackle the same. The task force set up by his government to deal with the gangs which had mushroomed during the Akali rule had met with significant success, with several gangsters already in police net, said Captain.
On the fiscal crisis in the state, the Chief Minister said his government was making all-out efforts to get Punjab’s economy back on the growth track and he had received excellent response from both, the domestic and foreign industry, who were keen to invest in Punjab. Elaborating on the financial mess, inherited from the previous regime, Capt Amarinder said his government would soon come out with a white paper to highlight the situation on the ground.
Pointing out that 9 million youth in the state were unemployed, the Chief Minister said his government was looking for ways and means to rescue the state from the abyss into which it had been plunged in the past 10 years. He also sought UK’s support in promotion of modern agricultural practices, dairy farming and sex embryo transfer to check the uncontrolled birth of male calves which are seen to destroy crops in farms.