The Punjab and Haryana high court on Tuesday granted three months’ time to the union ministry of social justice and empowerment to take a decision on the release of grants to 11 de-addiction centres of Punjab being run by non-government organisations (NGOs).
The division bench headed by acting chief justice Ashotosh Mohunta issued the directions while disposing of a public interest litigation.
The court was informed that all 11 de-addiction centres were registered with the union ministry of social justice and empowerment under a scheme known as the ‘Central Sector Scheme of Assistance for Prevention of Alcoholism and Substance (Drugs) Abuse and for Social Defence Services’. It was added that the annual grants to such de-addiction centres on an average ranged between Rs 7-9 lakh, depending on the bed capacity of such centres.
The petitioner had informed the court that cases of all these NGOs were recommended to the union ministry by the Punjab government but so far these NGOs had not received grants for 2013-14 and also for 2014-15.
It was also informed through the petition that the salaries envisaged to be paid to de-addiction centres’ staff under the scheme were very low. A part-time doctor attached with such a centre gets Rs 5,000 per month and a peer educator gets just Rs 2,000 per month. Thus, a demand was made that the union ministry should review the salaries payable to staff at these centres.