The deputy chief minister of Punjab, Sukhbir Singh Badal, said his government has set up a full-fledged anti-drug force and several rehabilitation centers. But researchers say there is little coordination or consensus on how to tackle the problem. Blaming Pakistan does not help, said Kunal Kishore of the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime.
“The bulk of the injectable pharmaceuticals are being produced illicitly in India,” he said, “so it is much more complex than finger-pointing.”
There is also widespread agreement that local politicians and police take a cut of the drug profits. Election officials seized more than 100 pounds of heroin that they said party workers intended to distribute to voters before state elections last January. Giving out alcohol to bribe potential constituents is relatively common in India, but the plan to distribute heroin was unique to Punjab, officials said.
In 2009, a former police narcotics chief from the state capital, Chandigarh, was arrested in Mumbai and charged with selling drugs.