The Boot village, branded as ‘Village of drug addicts’, in Kapurthala district is struggling hard to get rid of the tag. The village recorded 47 first information reports (FIR) under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act, the most from a single village, in 2014 across the state.
The condition, however, slightly improved with the police crackdown on drug peddlers and youth of the village are giving preference to education now.
The state government also recently upgraded the only high school in the village to senior secondary school to promote the education among villagers.
As per information as many as 32 and 25 FIRs were registered in 2015 and 16 respectively from the village. During HT’ s visit to houses of drug addicts in the village it was found that the people booked in FIRs have weak financial condition. As per information, about 15 people are undergoing treatment at government de-addiction centres in the district. Sarpanch, Gurdev Singh who is a SAD member said, “Most of the people involved in such cases belong to Scheduled Caste Rai Sikh community and are not educated.” The village is also lacking proper medical facilities as there is only one clinic for the entire village.
“We are witnessing a positive change now as the young educated generation knows that the drug addiction is a spoiler,” he said. “It will take few more years to get rid of this menace.” “There is still a need to organise regular drug de-addiction and motivational camps,” Singh added.
As per the 2011 census, the village has a population of 3,757, with a barely 50 % literacy rate. Even the police had set up a post in the village last year, concerned over the seriousness of the menace in the village.
The local police chief Ashok Kumar is not surprised with the figures . Kumar said, “The problem is serious as the people here are illiterate and poor.” “All the main smugglers of this village are in custody and a strict watch is being kept on drug peddlers due to which many peddlers are changing profession.” he said.
Jail superintendent of police (SP), Kulwinder Singh Thiara said, “Currently, 45 people from three villages including Booth and Toti village are under trial and 25 have been convicted in last four years.
DSP Sarabjit Singh Rai said, “Campaign to seal the property of drug peddlers has also been launched and property worth two crore has been seized in last few years.