City of Temples turning to be ‘Udta Punjab’

An era where the Global problem of drug addiction is taking the lives of many, the unfortunate appropriate inaction on the part of custodians of welfare State today has given birth to few organizations in the State to take the responsibility of liberating youth form the yoke of this menace. Notably, when a 50 years old women stands and says that nobody has listened to her voice from any corner when she tried to save the life of her only son, at that time an infant NGO of Jammu, namely, ‘Team Jammu’ came up and stood to de-addict and save the life of the son of land, who has now turned to be an asset for the State and not a burden anymore.

There are many such stories which have now raised an alarming stage where drugs are not only taking lives of our sons but now our daughters are also under grab of it. Hence, it is no longer time for us to sit back and watch but we have to buckle up and work towards eradication of drug menace.

With the change in the scenario, our youth is facing many problems in shape of competition, failure, rejections, lack of parental involvement, peer pressure which leads to depression, frustration and at times loneliness. Significantly, the social media is also creating gaps. As a mode of coming out of these problems, today’s youth is trying out as a way of experiment and at times as preferred choice of being drug addict. This menace has also adversely impacted the lives of women both physically and mentally.

Today, to curb this imminence of drug addiction, it has not remained the sole duty of the law enforcement agencies, whereas, the civil society has to take its equivalent stand and our women in this mission can play a major role. In order to fulfil India’s obligations under a series of international conventions and reiterate its commitment towards eradication of the drug problem across the country, Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 (NDPS) has been enacted while consolidating the erstwhile principal Acts, viz. the Opium Act 1857, and the Dangerous Drugs Act, 1930. The NDPS Act is India’s primary law to combat drug trafficking, drug related assets as well as substances which can be used, in the manufacture of narcotic drugs.

The Act has primarily two-pronged approach of deterrence and rehabilitation. However, in its present form, it envisages stringent punishments for drug traffickers and rehabilitation for addicts. Important aspect to be taken into consideration here is that though the Act envisages the object of rehabilitation of addicts, yet, while dealing with cases in Courts not a single individual addict has been sent to a rehabilitation centre by court. Hence, due to lack in infrastructure and rehabilitation centres and lacunae in training and sensitisation of the investigation agencies, prosecution, and the judiciary finds itself handicapped to fulfil the Act in its spirit.

As per information received under Right to Information Act there is one scheme, namely, Prevention of Alcoholism and Substance Drugs abuse running in the State of J&K which is launched by the Ministry of Social Welfare and regrettably as per records, since 2011 January, 2011 up to July, 2016, there is not even a single de-addiction programme has been conducted by the Social Welfare Department in State in Jammu Division, as well as in Leh-Ladakh Division, whereas only two programmes have been conducted by Directorate Social Welfare, Kashmir in 2015-16 in collaboration with an NGO at Bemina and Nowhatta, Srinagar.

Whereas, out of the released funds, since 2010, two centres of drug de-addiction cum counselling centre are under construction at Pulwama and Kulgam, both at Kashmir division respectively. At the same time it is important to note that the registration of First Information Report (FIRs) with respect to the registration of cases in relation to the seizure of contraband i.e. Ganja, Cocaine, Heroein and other drugs from 2001 to August 2016 in different districts in number stands 06 in Kargil, in Distrs from Kargil -06, Kishtwar – 20, Doda – 86, Rajouri 73,Poonch -10, Samba – 125, Jammu -904, Shopian – 29, Ganderbal –47, Leh/Ladhakh – 15, Srinagar – 185. However, in the period of 15 years the registration of FIRs as mentioned does not match the supply and demand of the drugs presently prevalent in the State of J&K.

The State has taken some measures as the OST Centre has been established in Reshamgarh Colony, Jammu, for drug addicts, but again instead of curing the disease, due to the irresponsible attitude of the officials/staff members and no check over the same, the lives of young boys have been taken away due to over doze of the medication. As per the information received from the residents of the Colony,since the inception of the OST Centre in 2015, five youngsters, namely, Simmon (21 Years),Bunty 28 Years, Ankush 30 Years, Gugu 29 Years, Rahul Puri 27 years, all residents of Reshamgarh Colony died to overdoze and negligence of officials and staff of the OST Centre situated at Reshamgarh Colony,Jammu. Therefore, it is equally relevant to keep a check on proper utilization of the limited resources available in State for the benefit of its people.

There is need to focus on the solutions of this peril otherwise the day is not that far that this city of temple will turn into ‘Udta Punjab’. Today the civil society along with the NGOs like Team Jammu have to come forward and have to work hand in hand along with three pillars of Democratic set up to curb this menace. We cannot wish away this problem, if we don’t act now, more generations will be ruined. Hence, there is need to take pledge by all that as long as I am alive, I am going to make all efforts to ensure that does not happen and this menace be come to an end.

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