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SAC takes suo-moto cognizance; issues notices to Home, Health Secys

Uncontrolled menace of drug abuse in J&K

Mohinder Verma
JAMMU, Nov 8: Taking suo-moto cognizance of the failure of the State Government to prevent drug abuse and provide facilities for de-addiction, Jammu and Kashmir State Accountability Commission has issued notices to the Principal Secretary Home Department and Commissioner Secretary Health Department seeking to know the steps being taken to contain the menace, which is spoiling the future of youth of the State.
It has been reliably learnt that Full Commission comprising of Justice B A Khan (Chairperson) and Justice J P Singh and Justice B A Kirmani (Members), which met in the recent past at Srinagar, deliberated upon various reports published by EXCELSIOR highlighting failure of the Government to strictly implement the provisions of Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act (NDPSA) despite uncontrolled menace of drug abuse in Jammu and Kashmir.
Observing that sufficient steps have not been taken by the concerned functionaries of the State to deal effectively with the drug menace that has polluted atmosphere in the society and adversely affected the health, well being and future of the youth of the State, the Full Commission decided to exercise suo-moto jurisdiction.
Accordingly, the Accountability Commission has issued notices to the Principal Secretary to Government, Home Department and Commissioner Secretary to Government, Health Department seeking information on various vital aspects by or before November 27, 2017.
As per the official sources in both these departments, who have gone through the notices issued by the Accountability Commission, the Home and Health Secretaries have been asked to provide information relating to the steps taken by the Government during the last three years to establish centres for identification, treatment, education, aftercare, rehabilitation, social integration of addicts of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances in both the provinces of the State in terms of Section 71 of NDPS Act, 1985.
These officers have also been asked to apprise the Accountability Commission as to whether there is any separate department to prevent entry of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances in Jammu and Kashmir and success, if any, achieved by such department in this regard.
The Commission has also sought year wise information for the last three years vis-à-vis number of persons de-addicted of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances as against those registered as drug addicts in the State. “The Commission has asked these senior officers of the State to furnish information about the number of persons trained for drug de-addiction and management of drug de-addiction centres in the State”, sources informed.
Even the Accountability Commission has desired to know the budgetary allocation made by the State Government in the last three years for achieving the objects detailed under Section 71 of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985, sources said, adding these officers have also been asked to apprise the Commission about the steps taken by the Government for framing rules under Section 78 of the NDPSA.
It is pertinent to mention here that though the NDPS Act has been in force in J&K for over three decades yet the progress in achieving the objectives of the Act is not satisfactory. The situation has assumed such an alarming level that drugs are easily available to the school going children. Even females are reported to have been affected by drug abuse thereby establishing the failure of the Government to contain the menace.
The failure of the Government even on de-addiction aspect can be gauged from the fact that no serious attention has been paid towards Section 71 of the NDPS Act which deals with the powers of the Government to establish centres for identification, treatment etc of drug addicts.
As already reported exclusively by EXCELSIOR, the Government may establish, recognize or approve as many centres as it thinks fit for identification, treatment, management, education, aftercare, rehabilitation and social-integration of drug addicts.
In J&K, there are only two full-fledged de-addiction centres-one each at Jammu and Srinagar being run by J&K Police. In each centre there is a capacity to admit only 25 drug-addicts for treatment.
However, in other districts there is no full-fledged de-addiction centre to treat the drug addicts and whatever arrangements the J&K Police has made is aimed at only providing counseling to the drug-addicts or making suggestions to their parents for their better case.
The manpower deployed in the centres other than those established in Jammu and Srinagar is not competent to treat the drug-addicts as such they cannot be called full-fledged centres.

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