Jammu: The Chief Secretary, Dr. Arun Kumar Mehta Friday chaired the maiden meeting of the State Level Committee of Narco Coordination Centre and outlined broad project contours for tackling drug menace in Jammu and Kashmir.
Additional Chief Secretary, Health & Medical Education Department, Principal Secretary, Home Department, and Commissioner Secretary, Forest, Ecology & Environment Department, besides Special DG Crime, Excise Commissioner, Director, FSL, and officers from Narcotics Control Bureau, Anti Narcotics Tasks Force (ANTF), State Drug Controller and CID participated in the meeting.
It was informed that Jammu and Kashmir lies in close vicinity to the golden crescent which produces 80% of the world opium and is considered as the prime source of illicit drug trade. As per a consumption survey, Jammu and Kashmir has 6 lakh people affected by drug related issues which is approximately 4.6% population of J&K of which 90% users are from 17-33 age group.
The Chief Secretary underscored the need of compiling data on production of poppy and cannabis in Jammu and Kashmir as well as cross-border transportation to assess the presence of these drugs and their synthetic derivatives in J&K.
For curbing the illicit cultivation of poppy, Dr. Mehta directed the Anti Narcotics Tasks Force in convergence with the Excise and Agriculture departments; to map the expected cultivation areas and take remedial actions for destruction of illegal crop, both on private and government lands. ANTF was further asked to formulate an action plan to prevent such cultivation in the next season.
Observing that drug menace in terms of usage and addiction has significantly gone up in Jammu and Kashmir during recent years, the Chief Secretary directed the concerned to enhance conviction rate in narco-related cases while simultaneously focusing on proper counselling and rehabilitation of drug affected youth.
Further, the Chief Secretary stressed on formulation of a multi-faceted strategy to tackle the drug issue including proper training of enforcement agencies, enhancement of drug testing capacity, assessment of illicit production and trade, seizure and destruction, arrest and conviction of accused, and counselling and rehabilitation of victims; to completely eradicate drug problem from J&K.
The Chief Secretary directed for a focussed approach for counselling and rehabilitation of victims of drug and substance abuse for which a broad policy has to be formulated for timely intervention of the Government. He observed that the menace has to be tackled at a mega-scale considering the prevalence of the problem in J&K.
Dr. Mehta directed constitution of a sub-committee for drafting an action plan for achieving tangible, on-ground results within a stipulated time frame by involving both divisional, district administrations and other stakeholders.
ANTF was also directed to undertake extensive awareness generation drives to inform the public on the associated risks and issues, and accordingly plan a calendar of activities. The Task Force was directed to institutionalize the mechanism for promoting wide ranged reporting on illegal cultivation, transportation, trade and consumption of drugs and their synthetic derivatives; through NGOs, PRIs and Volunteers.