Facing severe criticism from several quarters over its failure to tackle the drug menace bedevilling the State, the Punjab government on Monday decided to recommend death penalty for drug peddlers and smugglers to the Centre. The Opposition parties, however, continued to lay the blame for dire drugs scenario squarely at the door of the Congress government.The Punjab Cabinet in its meeting held here, chaired by Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, resolved to send a formal recommendation of death penalty for drug smugglers and peddlers to the Union government soon.An official statement said that State would also constitute a special working group under the chairmanship of Additional Chief Secretary (Home) N.S. Kalsi to review and monitor, on a day-to-day basis, the action being taken to check drug abuse.The Cabinet also took stock of the cases of deaths resulting from drug overdose, which Special Task Force chief H.S. Sidhu admitted to be a matter of concern. Mr. Sidhu suggested registration of all such cases to enable the identification and mitigation of risk factors, such as supply of spurious drugs and mixing of drugs with other death-causing substances.Leaders and workers of the Aam Aadmi Party held a sit-in demonstration in Chandigarh on the issue of rising drug menace in the State. AAP leaders Bhagwant Mann, Sukhpal Singh Khaira and Balbir Singh marched towards the residence of the Chief Minister but were stopped by the police. The protesters then staged a “dharna” and raised slogans against the government.“The Congress has failed to stop the drug menace in the State. A few influential police officers are part of the drug trade,” alleged Mr. Khaira, adding that a high court-monitored CBI inquiry is must in the case. He also demanded that the Chief Minister immediately call an all-party meeting. “Also a special session of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha on the issue of drugs should be convened,” he said.The Shiromani Akali Dal said that all Punjabis, rising above political affiliations, must fight the common enemy of drugs.