Only orders, no efforts to strictly implement ‘Nasha Mukt Bharat’ campaign in J&K UT

Apex Committee fails to start acting on terms of references

Decision on key aspects yet to be taken by panel

Mohinder Verma

JAMMU, Dec 24: The national campaign of the Union Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment aimed at reduction in drug demand and its abuse has largely remained confined to the official orders only in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir with negligible activities on the ground.
For want of serious approach particularly at the level of Apex Committee no decision could be taken on key aspects of the campaign, which otherwise would go a long way in eradicating the fast spreading menace to the large extent.
The campaign titled as “Nasha Mukt Bharat” has been launched by the Union Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment to reach out to children and youth for awareness about ill effect of drug use; increase community participation and public cooperation; support Government hospitals for opening up De-addiction Centers in addition to existing Ministry Supported De-addiction Centers etc.
The Ministry has identified 272 districts which are most vulnerable to drug abuse in whole of the country for this campaign and in Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, there are 10 such districts namely Doda, Kishtwar, Poonch, Rajouri, Pulwama, Anantnag, Kulgam, Shopian, Budgam and Bandipora.
Till date, the campaign has not picked up the momentum in any of these districts mainly because of non-serious approach on the part of the concerned authorities although sufficient assistance for the same is being provided by the Union Ministry, official sources told EXCELSIOR.
“Only few awareness programmes have been organized in some districts of the Union Territory despite the fact that keeping in view the alarming rise in the drug menace the campaign is supposed to be launched on war-footing basis”, they further informed, adding “moreover, there is no proper supervision of implementation of the campaign although an Apex Committee in this regard has already been constituted”.
Vide Government Order No.807-JK(GAD) dated September 1, 2020, an Apex Level Committee headed by Administrative Secretary of the Social Welfare Department was constituted for implementing “Nasha Mukt Bharat” campaign in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.
The committee having representatives of Director General of Police, Health and Medical Education Department, Narcotics Control Bureau, Higher Education Department, School Education Department, Department of Information, NGOs working in the field of drugs as its members and Director, Social Welfare Kashmir as Member Secretary was supposed to formulate campaign activity under “Nasha Mukt Bharat” and ensure formulation and implementation of district campaigns in the identified/vulnerable districts of the Union Territory.
Moreover, the mandate of the committee is to guide and oversee the implementation of campaign in the vulnerable districts; enhance community participation and public cooperation in the campaign; conduct training programmes for the service providers at the UT level, district level and block level; frame social media strategy for the UT campaign and implementation of the same; visit institutions, hospitals and effective places and ensure implementation of ban on sale of cigarettes within 100 metres of any educational institution.
However, the Apex Committee has yet not started deliberating on all these important aspects for the unknown reasons, sources informed, adding “due to inordinate delay in convening meeting of the Apex Committee no decision could be taken on vital aspects of the campaign till date”.
“How the Government would check the increasing menace of drugs with such a casual approach remains a million dollar question”, sources further said, adding “keeping in view the prevailing situation the Apex Committee is supposed to meet after regular intervals so that progress in implementation of the campaign could be assessed and accordingly necessary directions are passed to the concerned authorities in 10 vulnerable districts”.
They disclosed that even retired senior civil servants who have contributed to this cause have not been nominated to the Apex Committee although there is a provision for the same.
When contacted, an officer, who has been assigned important position in the Apex Committee, confirmed that some activities have been carried out in the vulnerable districts but the Apex Committee has yet not started holding deliberations on its terms of references.