Apex Committee of multiple agencies fails to meet during past over 3 years

*Anti-Narcotics Task Force yet to make collective efforts
Mohinder Verma
JAMMU, Dec 14: Though the menace of drug addiction has assumed alarming proportion in the length and breadth of Jammu and Kashmir and spoiling the life of youngsters, the State Level Apex Committee of multiple agencies, which has the mandate to prepare Action Plan to eliminate the nuisance with iron hands, has failed to meet during the past over three years. Moreover, two divisional level Anti-Narcotics Task Force have failed to make the collective and rigorous efforts to check drug trafficking.
Official sources told EXCELSIOR that vide Government Order No.397-GAD of 2004 dated March 16, 2004, the then Principal Secretary to Government, General Administration Department constituted State Level Apex Committee to prepare the Action Plan for eliminating menace of cultivation of narcotic substances and drug trafficking from the State of Jammu and Kashmir.
Chief Secretary was made Chairman of the Committee with Principal Secretary to Government, Agriculture Production Department, Principal Secretary to Government Social Welfare Department, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, Commissioner/Secretary, Health and Medical Education Department, Secretary, Rural Development Department, Commissioner Excise, Director Information and Zonal Director, Narcotics Control Bureau as its members. Inspector General of Police (IGP) Crime and Railways was made Member Secretary of this committee.
Vide another Order No.398-GAD of 2004 dated March 16, 2004 Anti Narcotics Task Force at divisional levels was constituted for strict implementation of laws relating to prevention of cultivation of narcotic substances and drug trafficking in the State.
The mandate of the Task Force headed by IGPs of Kashmir and Jammu Zones and comprising officers from eight other departments was also to make suggestions to the State Level Apex Committee relating to identification of areas under illicit cultivation of narcotic substances, their destruction and prevention of drug trafficking.
However, the Apex Committee has not met during the past over three years, sources said while disclosing that the last formal meeting of this Committee was convened on June 10, 2013 by the then Chief Secretary and some deliberations were held to check the menace. Even formal minutes of the meeting were issued for strict follow-up of the decisions by the concerned authorities.
“The non-serious approach of all those who are part and parcel of this Apex Committee is notwithstanding the fact that this platform was created exclusively to coordinate the activities of different agencies like police, intelligence, customs and excise, monitor the performance of various organizations about the detection and prevention of crimes under Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act”, sources regretted, adding the Apex Committee was also supposed to recommend schemes for creating infrastructural arrangements for de-addiction of drug addicts, establishment of Counseling Centres and other measures for intensive campaign against the evil effects of drugs and psychotropic substances.
The non-serious approach in ensuring deliberations on these aspects by the Apex Committee is notwithstanding the fact that Governor N N Vohra while chairing a meeting in the month of February this year had stressed the need of making rigorous efforts to curb the growing menace of drug addiction across Jammu and Kashmir, sources said while informing that several members of the Apex Committee were among the participants of this meeting. However, no formal minutes of the meeting were issued, which otherwise were imperative for strict compliance by the agencies concerned.
According to the sources, even two divisional level Task Forces have failed to hold deliberations on the subject after regular intervals, which otherwise were imperative to make necessary recommendations to the State Level Apex Committee headed by the Chief Secretary. “Though the IGPs of Kashmir and Jammu Zones besides IGP Crime have passed strict directions to the officers under their control to leave no stone unturned to tighten noose around those indulging in drug trafficking yet the Divisional Commissioners have failed to take the issue seriously despite the fact that by way of a separate order No.911-GAD of 2006 dated July 24, 2006 they were made heads of the Divisional Level Committees”, sources said.
“The seriousness on the part of Divisional Commissioners towards this grave issue is imperative as they can easily ensure proper coordination between officers of different departments, who are part and parcel of Task Force”, sources said, adding “in view of lack of coordination and delay in convening meetings of Task Force as well as State Level Apex Committee no collective efforts are being made to tackle the menace of drug trafficking”.
Pointing towards the well-knit drug cartel operating in the State, sources said, “unless all the concerned agencies work in unison this menace cannot be eliminated”, adding “an Action Plan and coordinated efforts are foremost to ensure that no more youth fall victim to the drug addiction”.
They further informed that several years back it was also announced that District Level, Sub-Divisional Level and Tehsil Level Committees would be formulated to assist the Police, Excise Department and Narcotics Control Bureau in tackling the menace but the announcement has failed to become reality till date.


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