Drugs Menace Spreading In Himachal

Y.S. Rana

The writer is a Hamirpur based Himachali settled in Chandigarh

Drug abuse in Himachal Pradesh is a best kept secret in the corridor of the state government yet is talked about in virtually every household in the state. The rampant drug racket in the state has come to haunt people. Unaware of the enormity of the problem, no political party in Himachal Pradesh provided any space to tackle drugs menace in their election manifesto.

However the fact remains that menace is likely to assume alarming proportions. The welcome song for the ‘would be’ government dies down giving way to some glaring realities, the new government will have its hands full fighting inflation, corruption and unemployment. But what can turn out to be the bigger test is pulling the youths out of the grip of drugs.

In the third quarter of 2016, 274 narcotic-related cases were registered and 320 people were arrested. During the past 11 years the number of cases booked under Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substance Act-1985 by the state police was 5183 and number of arrested persons was 5090. Though in the coming years it will be a serious cause of concern as it is admitted that drug abuse has spread among school going children too in the state. The enforcement directorate (Narcotics) which is supposed to check the spread of abuse, had been making tall claims but the data says otherwise. A study conducted by the Indira Gandhi Medical College and Hospital, Shimla observed that 40% youth in the state was involved in drug abuse. Police records also show that there over 50,000 acres of land alone in Kullu valley is under cannabis cultivation.

The number of drug abuse has been increasing despite the campaigns being carried out to make people in the state aware of the problem. Notably, Lahaul–Spiti district has no reported case of drug abuse or cultivation. In fact, 25 years ago, nobody knew anything about drug abuse and not many in the state would have even heard of the term. Today, it is hard to shut it out of the day-to-day life of the towns. The state has been observing the anti drug day every year, yet the message is far from reaching the grass root level. If one looks at the data available, more efforts are still required to check the spreading of the abuse.

Though a number of NGOs are drudging hard to efface the menace but the callous attitude of the government pose problems. “Efforts to stop illicit cultivation, trafficking and consumption of drugs have failed and even it has made inroads in village and schools. Law should be implemented in true spirit otherwise situation will go out of hand,” said a doctor of Barsar.Naya Savera de-addiction centre at village Jhiri in Mandi district has so far treated 1160 persons. Of these 556, fell in the age group of 20-30 years. Arvind Kumar, its president admitted lack of political will to deal with the problem and added that there was no authentic survey available drug problem in the state.

However, it is not just about information and awareness, it is all about strict implementation of laws along with changing attitude and this is where much progress has not taken place. The state government should, perhaps, avoid the policy of playing fast and loose with the situation.

Drugs Seized During 2013-15 In Himachal

Drug                   2013               2014                 2015

Ganja                  3.05 Kg           0.84 Kg            –

Charas              314.96 kg        356.96 Kg       283.44 Kg

Poppy husk       777.75 kg        1192.06 Kg     1731.36 Kg

Poppy plant       9,467 No.        44,215 No.      1,56,892 No.

Opium             1.78 Kg             8.28 Kg           5.02 Kg

Charas Seized In 2016

The Superintendent, CID (Narcotics) said in a conference that Malana in district Kullu alone produced 400-500 kgs of charas annually. Bada Bhangal in district Kangra has nearly 20% of private land under opium and cannabis cultivation. In 2016, the enforcement department had seized over 1347 kgs of charas and district Mandi tops the list of seizure of opium (56.631 kgs) in the state.

Conviction Rate Comes Down

So far conviction rate is concerned, while in 2005 it was 32%, it has come down to 28.20% in 2015. Surprisingly, over 48% cases were registered in districts Kullu, Chamba and Mandi. The number of persons arrested during the past 11 years is a small friction of big crime. During the period 1369 persons were arrested in Kullu, followed by Mandi (1346). Shimla has this number 663, Hamirpur 288, Kangra 580, Una 243 and Chamba 506. In 2013, percentage of conviction rate was 44% that has come down to 28.20% in 2015.


The state’s ups and downs this week

E-Map Centres Facility Begins In Himachal

Shimla: People in Himachal can now avail the facility of getting their house maps prepared at a cheap rate. The Town and Country Planning Department has established e-map centre for this purpose. Two centres have been established on pilot basis in Shimla and Dharamshala. However four centres had to be established in first phase. But two centres could not be opened because of lack of professionals. The idea was to open four e-map centres at Shimla, Dharamshala, Ghumarwin and Nadaun in the first phase. Notably the process for the same was started in October last year and the department had invited applications from professionals. More than one and half a dozen applied for the same. But no one was found eligible. Thereafter applications were invited in April month this year again. But most of the applications again were not found to be appropriate. The department however has selected two out of these applications for Dharamshala and Shimla. The town and country planning department has signed memorandum of understanding (MoU) with selected architect and professionals.

Doordarshan’s Sluggish Performance In Elections

Shimla: Like most of the government departments, the performance of Doordarshan during Himachal assembly elections proved to be quite low. Where the private media houses organised big debates in almost all parts of the state, Doordarshan failed to even register its presence. The private channels did not remain confined to debates, but also carried special news bulletins. Notably, Doordarshan is not only a government channel, but it has wide network too with its presence available in every nook and corner of the country. Most important aspect is that it is not a paid channel and consumers have not to pay some amount to subscribe the channel. But despite all these positives, Doordarshan failed to mark its presence in the festival of democracy. The Information and Broadcasting Ministry has provided one OB van to Doordarshan for live coverage at Shimla. There is also a provision of providing OB van for big programmes from Jalandhar and Chandigarh. But despite all these provisions, Doordarshan failed to make any mark in state elections.

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