2 July :The meeting of High Powered Committee set up on Narcotic drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) by the State Government with a view to check the drug abuse and also cultivation of poppy and cannabis in the State and create alternative development opportunities to wean people away from production, consumption and trade of illicit drugs, held here today under the Chairmanship of the Chief Secretary, Smt. Asha Swarup, who is Chairperson of the Committee.
The Committee expressed concern over the increasing practice of growing of cannabis and poppy in some parts of Kullu, Mandi, Shimla, Chamba and other districts and suggested that stringent action should be taken against the defaulters under the NDPS Act.
Chief Secretary stressed that the need of the hour was to sensitise officers of the all the Departments to give the information to the Police Department about those involved in growing poppy and cannabis and drug trafficking so that Police can take appropriate action against them. She said that the campaign against should be made a people’s movement.
Smt. Asha Swarup stressed for launching an awareness campaign to educate people not to grow poppy and cannabis and added that the Department of Agriculture and Horticulture should find out some value added cash crops which can be grown in place of poppy and cannabis so that people growing these do not face any financial hardship and rehabilitated gainfully.
She also stressed for launching a special campaign for destruction of poppy from March to May and for cannabis from August to October.
Chief Secretary said that educational institutions at plus two and college level and Information and Public Relations Department should play a pro-active role in the campaign against drug abuse. She said that Social Justice and Empowerment Department and field functionaries of the Health Department should also be involved in the campaign and they should inform the Police if somebody is found guilty of drug abuse.
It was suggested by the Committee that powers can be given to the Officers of Excise and Taxation, Revenue and Health Departments under NDPS Act, which would supplement the efforts of the Police Department in nabbing the defaulters of drug abuse.
Chief Secretary also suggested that in educational institutions co-curricular activities should be encouraged so that students are not swayed by any type of drug abuse and other such menace.
Director General of Police, Shri G.S. Gill, said that to supplement efforts of the Police in discouraging the poppy and cannabis cultivation and also to nab the defaulters, other Departments should provide information to the police which is not coming at present. He said that Drug Inspectors should also ensure that the drugs are not sold by verifying the stock in the medicine shops from time to time.
Director General Police said that without the co-operation of other Departments police will not be able to get tangible results.
Shri Avay Shukla, Additional Chief Secretary, Principal Secretaries and Secretaries of Health, Education, Home, Excise and Taxation, Law, Additional Director General of Police, Senior Officer of Police and other Senior Officers attended the meeting amongst others.