'Nijaat' campaign helps addicts shun drugs, alcohol in Chhattisgarh | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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'Nijaat' campaign helps addicts shun drugs, alcohol in Chhattisgarh

PTI | , Raipur
Jan 03, 2022 12:23 PM IST

Around 200 public awareness programmes have been conducted so far under the drive in the district where hundreds of drug addicts have been counselled and successfully convinced to quit the habit, said the 2011-batch IPS officer.

Mukesh Kumar Sahu, a resident of Chhattisgarh's Korea district, got addicted to liquor and ganja in his student days. He left his studies, later his addiction affected his marital life and even his parents started living separately because of his habits. But, Sahu is a changed man now.

Drug seizure (Representative Image)(AP)
Drug seizure (Representative Image)(AP)

He has not only overcome his addiction, but also helps local police in nabbing drug peddlers and motivates other addicts in his area to quit drugs and liquor consumption. Like him, there are several men in Chhattisgarh's Korea district who have quit addiction in the last six months, thanks to a campaign being run by local police against drugs and illegal liquor sale. Under the 'Nijaat' (riddance) drive, launched in July last year, the police have been successful in effectively curbing the smuggling of drugs and illegal liquor, and also persuaded a large number of addicts to quit the habit and lead a normal life, Korea Superintendent of Police Santosh Singh claimed while talking to PTI. 

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The campaign is gaining momentum across Korea, a small district in Chhattisgarh's tribal-dominated Surguja division, with wall paintings, posters and banners of 'Nijaat' seen at many places in urban areas and remote villages of the district. According to the police official, the campaign is drawing more attention as celebrities like Prabhu Deva, Arbaaz Khan, Rajpal Yadav and Kailash Kher have been roped in to appeal to people, through video messages, to quit drugs and liquor. Some noted artists from Chhattisgarh, like actor Anuj Sharma and folk singers Teejan Bai and Mamta Chandrakar, have also extended support to the campaign. Singh, the brain behind the drive, said "the campaign has started yielding results and local public representatives as well as the common people have taken it forward in their areas on their own”. 

Around 200 public awareness programmes have been conducted so far under the drive in the district where hundreds of drug addicts have been counselled and successfully convinced to quit the habit, said the 2011-batch IPS officer. Besides, since July last year, so far 152 people have also been arrested in 126 cases registered under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act, while 822 arrests have been made in 935 cases pertaining to the sale of illegal liquor, the police official said. After attending an event under the campaign in Sonhat village, Mukesh Sahu, a local, came in contact with police who convinced him to quit the addiction. 

"I started consuming liquor when I was in Class 10. I did not even appear for the exams and later quit studies. Soon, from liquor, I shifted to smoking ganja and chewing tobacco, and became addicted to these narcotics. I had no idea that I had started on a catastrophic journey,” Sahu told PTI. 

He said he used to buy liquor with money given to him for household items. His parents thought he might quit drug addiction after getting married. "I got married in 2016, but I continued with my habits and even assaulted my wife in drunken state. My wife started living most of the time at her maternal home along with my two children and even my parents left me," he said. 

"A few months back, I got in touch with Sonhat police station house officer Shiv Kumar Yadav, who encouraged me to quit the addiction," Sahu said, adding that he is now living happily with his whole family. Amitabh Gupta, a 48-year-old social activist whose organisation 'Samanata Kranti' has been associated with 'Nijaat', said as part of the campaign, people have now voluntarily formed committees at local level, and this has given a boost to the drive. 

“The campaign has two purposes- to locate drug peddlers and take action under the law which was already underway, and to understand the feelings of families of addicts and help them,” Gupta said. He said they have conducted various programmes, visited villages and contacted addicts and their families. "The prime focus was on Chhindiya village under the district's Patna police station which was infamous as a drug peddling hub. Narcotic substances from neighbouring Uttar Pradesh and Jharkhand were believed to be smuggled into Chhindiya from there and circulated across the district,” he said. The police successfully cracked down on peddlers there and arrested many of them in the last six months, he said. 

The campaign is showing significant results in many parts of the district, though it will take time to reach a conclusion (to end the drug menace in the district), Gupta said. With the initiative of the superintendent of police, a de-addiction centre comprising 50 beds has also been set up at Baikunthpur in the district, he added. 

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