Fighting the menace: Engaging the youth in productive activity like sports will keep them out of harm’s way; the government should cut supply lines and take measures to rehabilitate drug addicts; the government alone can’t address the problem as society must do its bit and organise awareness programmes; feel leaders.
Prem Singh Chandumajra, MP and SAD gen secy
Tackle the problem with an iron hand
Drugs are available in all states but the issue has been highlighted in Punjab. The awareness level in the state is high and issues get highlighted fast. If we look at the statistics, Punjab is way behind other states as far as the problem is concerned. Still, it has to be dealt with an iron hand.
The SAD-BJP government has controlled the flow of drugs in the state, which is used as a transit route by smugglers. The central forces should keep a check on the flow of drugs from across the border. The BSF and the CRPF should increase surveillance on the border and be provided hi-tech equipment.
The war against drugs can’t be fought by the government alone; the participation of society is a must. Political parties have to take up the fight sincerely and should stop doing politics on it. Children at a young age should be taught that drugs are a curse.
Amrinder Raja Warring, Youth Cong president
Fight has to start from every house
The problem of drugs is deep-rooted in Punjab. It has destroyed the younger generation. The Punjabi youth now fail to qualify in physical tests for recruitment to the defence forces. The situation is so grim that it is affecting even the matrimonial prospects of the youth.
The Centre should ensure that no smuggling of drugs takes place from across the border. The mafia has flourished in the past seven years under police and political patronage. More drug de-addiction centres should be opened. The CM has started issuing statements against the menace now. What did he do in the past seven years?
Political parties should launch a crusade against the menace. As the leader of the Youth Congress, we will start a campaign against the menace by going from door to door. It is the moral duty of every citizen to stop the menace. Start from your home and save Punjab.
Lal Singh, Congress MLA
Leaders should stop mudslinging
It is a serious problem that has gripped the state. The youth of Punjab, once known for its bravery in wars, are now being dubbed as drug addicts. The problem has been increasing day by day as a large number of youth has already fallen in the vicious trap of drug addiction.
Both the state and central governments are seized of the problem, so they must take immediate steps for rehabilitation of drug addicts. The Centre must provide additional funds for rehabilitation purposes. Besides breaking the supply chain, the government must come up with stricter punishments for drug smugglers.
The political parties should cut across party lines and seriously think about measures to stop drug smuggling. The leaders should stop mudslinging on the sensitive issue. Society will have to play a pivotal role by undertaking awareness campaigns.
Sardara Singh Johl, economist
Dharnas are no solution
No one is analysing the problem seriously that multiplies at three levels -- ban, smuggling and promotion. Poppy husk was once grown in Punjab but there were no addicts, and when the ban was imposed, the smuggling started, followed by its promotion by the mafia.
Political parties should take a pledge not to distribute free alcohol and drugs during elections. Staging dharnas is no solution to the problem. The government should adopt a zero tolerance towards the kingpins of the drug trade and should give a free hand to the police to deal with the masterminds.
It is important to address the frustration in the youth which leads them to drugs. In addition to providing employment, engaging them in productive activities is the need of the hour. Making provisions for sports in villages will help address the problem.
KPS Gill, former DGP, Punjab
Drug abuse is common
The problem exists in Punjab because of the easy availability of pharmaceutical drugs. Every village has at least one chemist shop which sells painkillers and cough syrups off the counter. Pharmaceutical drug abuse is the most common addiction and very little attention is paid to it.
Most of the enforcement efforts are directed towards recovery of other drugs. The government should focus on ensuring that the chemist shops do not supply these drugs. In other countries, the control on chemist shops is stricter and that is the kind of control that needs to be imposed here.
The drug mafia-political nexus is not new. In Punjab, politicians should be wary of bonding with those in the drug trade. Since expenditure during elections is high, politicians end up using drug money during elections and the vicious cycle is never broken.
Diljit Dosanjh, Punjabi singer-actor
Cinema can make a difference
Drug problem can be curbed by the authorities, and society at large which includes NGOs and the youth. Today’s youth is intelligent, capable and talented. They know what is good and bad for them and their health. The youth should focus on building their careers.
Youth icons, prominent film personalities and cinema itself can play a big role. Filmmakers can make message-driven films. Cinema is a powerful medium which can create awareness against the drug scourge and can change the lives of the youth, who have fallen prey to this plague.
I am always there for any help or contribution to society. If the state government asks me to join the awareness campaign, I would pitch in for the cause. But, disappointment sets in when people try to pull you down.
Compiled by: Gurpreet Singh Nibber, Sukhdeep Kaur, Navrajdeep Singh, Anshu Seth, Chitleen K Sethi and Usmeet Kaur.
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