While the government has launched a crackdown on drug abuse, the first de-addiction centre inaugurated by former chief minister Parkash Singh Badal in 2012 at Khyala Kalan village has been closed.
Officials said lack of security was one of the prime reasons behind shutting of this centre which used to serve patients from across the district. "Without proper security it was not safe for women staff to work at the centre in Khyala Kalan village. Patients could sneak out of the centre to get drugs and liquor," a counsellor at the government rehabilitation centre, which will now also offer treatment for the addicts.
The government rehabilitation centre in the city was inaugurated by Union food processing minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal in 2015.
Earlier, addicts would to undergo detoxification at the centre in Khyala Kalan village and then were subsequently sent to the rehabilitation centre for further treatment.
"Patients were reluctant to visit two separate centres for treatment. This was another reason behind the decision to provide both services under the same roof at the rehabilitation centre,” the counsellor, who wished to stay anonymous, added.
Problems galore for new centre
The rehabilitation centre, which will extend services of detoxification to the patients, has plenty of problems for which district administration seems to be merely paying lip service. The centre situated near Thutiyawali road recently got a new neighbour — a liquor vend that has not been shifted despite the issue having been brought to the knowledge of the district administration.
“We have shown it to the Mansa sub-divisional magistrate and centre in-charge but the liquor vend has not been shifted yet," said Amardeep Singh, a psychiatrist working with the rehabilitation centre. The centre has electronic gadgets to show inspirational movies and documentaries to patients but authorities have not been provided any audio-video material to run such shows.
Further, the gymnasium has the necessary equipment that has been provided by the doctors. But shortage of staff and lack of recreational activities for patients is still a major concern for officials serving at the rehabilitation centre.
Villagers upset over the closure of deaddiction centre
Khyala Kalan village residents expressed their disappointment after the de-addiction centre was closed down around 10 days ago. They criticised the district administration, which launched its drug awareness campaign from this village earlier this month, for the move.
“It shows the level of sincerity of the administration. Rather than catching drug peddlers, they have shut down the de-addiction centre that used to treat patients from far flung areas too," said a villager who had participated in the drug awareness seminar organised by the district administration.
When contacted, deputy commissioner Dharam Pal Gupta said the issue of liquor vend will be resolved soon. Further, chief medical officer Renu Sood said that due to shortage of staff, the Khyala Kalan village centre had been “closed temporarily”.