The Tamil Nadu police will intensify the drive against drugs by ensuring stringent punishment to offenders, Chief Minister M.K. Stalin said in the Assembly on Tuesday.

The strategy was to create awareness among the target group, especially school and college students, focus on confiscating the assets of drug peddlers and invoke the Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act against them, he said.

Participating in the demand for grants for the Home, Prohibition and Excise Department, Mr. Stain said the Prohibition Enforcement Wing would be merged with the Narcotics Intelligence Bureau-CID to form a new unit — Narcotics Prevention and Prohibition Enforcement — for a more integrated and coordinated action against drugs.

He said drug law enforcement officials were instructed to confiscate the movable and immovable assets of offenders. In Theni, Madurai and Dindigul districts, the police had not only seized property documents and vehicles of the accused persons but also froze their bank accounts. 

Mr. Stalin said the police would establish an integrated toll gate monitoring system, connecting live footage of surveillance cameras installed at 55 tollgates and 50 vehicle checkpoints along the State borders. This facility, to be set up at a cost of ₹9 crore would help to zero in on criminals smuggling drugs and contraband substances and committing other crimes. The cameras capable of capturing the number plate of vehicles would be linked to a database that would reveal the identity of the registered owners. 

The Chief Minister said drones would be provided to cities for traffic management, crime detection, emergency response and surveillance. A social media monitoring centre would be established at the Police Headquarters. The traffic regulation observed zone (TROZ) system, which would automatically detect violations by road users and initiate action, implemented at Anna Nagar, Chennai, would be extended to three more areas in the city at an estimated cost of ₹10.50 crore. The Police Training College at Ashok Nagar, Chennai, would be shifted to the Tamil Nadu Police Academy campus near Vandalur.

Among other announcements, Mr. Stalin said the personnel deployed in the Organised Crime Intelligence Unit (OCIU) would be given a 5% special pay, given the nature of their work. The health insurance coverage for police personnel would be enhanced from the present ₹30 lakh to ₹60 lakh.

Taking into account a long-pending demand, the government would take steps to open the healthcare facilities at police hospitals for the employees of the Tamil Nadu Fire and Rescue Services Department and the Tamil Nadu Prison Department. New fire and rescue service stations would be established at Anniyur (Villupuram), Tirupparankundram (Madurai), Elayirampannai (Virudhunagar), Kolathur (Chennai), Kalavakkam (Chengalpattu) and Kannamangalam (Tiruvannamalai) at a cost of ₹11 crore, he said.

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