Chandigarh, August 4: The dope test to be carried out by the Punjab Government on its employees, one of the several measures initiated to fight the drug menace, has attracted controversy even before it formally takes off.
The Health Department is already charging Rs 1,500 for the test in the state that costs the government just Rs 300.
Besides 3.25 lakh state government employees, including those with the Punjab Police, the dope test has been made mandatory for those applying for an arms licence.
Though a final notification on the dope test for employees is yet to be issued, sources said the staff would have to pay from their own pocket and then apply for reimbursement. Employees’ bodies have already expressed their opposition.
In the dope test, samples are analysed for 10 types of substances — morphine, codeine, D-propoxyphene, benzodiazepines, 9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), barbiturates, cocaine, ampethetamines, buprenorphine and tramadol.
The testing kit costs Rs 200 to Rs 350 in the retail market. If the government floats a tender and makes bulk purchase, the cost falls to Rs 200.
“This is not just about the employees but the common man too. Charging citizens five times more than the actual cost for the test is inexcusable. The government is not expected to act like a profit-making private enterprise,” observed Dr Joginder Dayal, member of the CPI’s national executive.
The employees say the test must be free of cost. This will entail an additional burden of Rs 10 crore on the government that is struggling with near-empty coffers.
Source Tribune India