In order to mark the International Day Against Drug Abuse, which is observed on June 26 worldwide, the state government organised a statelevel de-addiction awareness programme at Guru Nanak Dev Bhawan on Saturday.
The audience, included block development panchayat officers, district development panchayat officers, members of Nehru Yuva Kendra and other government officials from adjoining districts.
Although addiction to drugs is said to prevail more commonly among people residing in the rural areas of the state, ironically one did not get to witness drug addicts in this state-level awareness programme.
Many NGOs raised questions over the impact of a mere awareness programme where drug addicts themselves were not seen.
They dismissed it as mere wastage of money on part of the state government.
Aneeta Sharma, chairperson of the Belan Brigade, a women welfare association, said, “No useful purpose was served by holding this function as the speakers and audience were the officials, who are working in the non-resultant social welfare department and people from the society, who have been getting grants from the government for many years,” she said adding that instead of wasting money on such events, the government should increase the facilities for the de-addiction centres as for a population of over 35 lakhs, Ludhiana de-addiction centre had admitted only 22 people.
The chairman of Ludhiana Welfare Organisation, Sat Paul Sharma, claimed that such programmes should be conducted among rural youngsters not in the city auditorium for officials.
On the other hand, the chief guest for the occasion, health and family welfare minister Surjit Kumar Jyani, said this was just the beginning as government had asked the health department to start such awareness programmes in all states. He said the government was committed to providing medicines, counselling and rehabilitation to the drug addicts.
A play to show evils of drug abuse “Mitti Rudan Karey” was also staged during the programme.
Secretary of social welfare and women and children development department, Jaspal Singh; director Gurkirat Kirpal Singh; and deputy commissioner, Ludhiana, Rajat Agarwal were also present.