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Four northern states, Chandigarh stand together in fight against drug menace

The conference was attended by Punjab CM Captain Amarinder Singh, Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar, Uttarakhand CM TS Rawat while Himachal Pradesh CM Jai Ram Thakur participated through a video conference.

punjab Updated: Aug 21, 2018 10:22 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
CM,drug menace,Punjab CM Captain Amarinder Singh
From left — Uttarakhand CM Trivendra Rawat, Punjab CM Captain Amarinder Singh and Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar during regional conference on drug menace held at Haryana Bhawan in Chandigarh on Monday.(Keshav Singh/HT)

In fight against narcotic drugs, northern states, on Monday, unanimously decided to set up a common/central secretariat, to be based at Panchkula in Haryana, for data and information sharing, which was critical to the joint action. The states that have joined hands are Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Delhi and Rajasthan as also the Union Territory of Chandigarh.

The chief ministers will meet every six months to monitor the progress of the joint strategy against drugs, while officers will meet every three months. Nodal officers will be deputed by each of the states to coordinate in the sharing process, the chief ministers decided at a ‘Regional Conference on Drugs – Challenges and Strategies’, convened in Chandigarh to discuss and formulate a joint strategy to fight the drug menace.

Punjab chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh, Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar and Uttarakhand chief minister TS Rawat attended the conference. Himachal Pradesh chief minister Jai Ram Thakur participated through video conference as he was unable to land in the city due to unfavourable weather.

It was also decided to invite Uttar Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir chief ministers to join the implementation of the anti-drug strategy, the chief ministers said at a press conference later.

Awareness campaigns in schools

It was also decided that the states would launch a major awareness campaign in schools to engage youth in sports and other activities at the village level. Skill development of youth will also be undertaken on a major scale.

Senior civil and police officers from these states, as well as Rajasthan, Delhi and Chandigarh, were also present at the meeting to evolve a joint strategy against drugs, and overcoming political and regional divides.

A Punjab government press statement said on chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh’s proposal, the CMs decided to meet every six months to monitor the progress of the joint strategy against drugs.

To ensure this, a meeting will be held once every quarter to be chaired by the chief secretary/DGP of the states concerned. SSPs of adjoining districts of states will also coordinate daily. During the meeting, Amarinder also proposed a regional cooperative framework of northern states to institutionalise inter-state and inter-agency coordination to deal with the menace of drugs.

He also suggested that all the affected states approach the Centre for funds for drug prevention, which could be arranged through the 21 departments of the Central government.

“There must be restrictions on drug plantations and better mechanisms to prevent diversion in the neighbouring states where illicit cultivation takes place,” he added.

Haryana chief minister Khattar said verification of foreign students sponsored by NGOs should be done through the ministry of human resource development.

Rajasthan additional chief secretary admitted there was some diversion of opium being produced legitimately in the state, in addition to manufacture of low quality heroin and some synthetic drugs.

Uttarakhand chief minister expressed concern over the fact that women were also getting increasingly trapped in drug abuse. Himachal chief minister said the state was already working closely with Punjab Police to crack down on smuggling of drugs through joint operations.

The Delhi Police crime branch stressed the need for data and information sharing among all the states on a priority.

First Published: Aug 20, 2018 17:36 IST