Himachal Pradesh chief minister Jai Ram Thakur on Sunday announced that a special task force (STF) will be constituted to wage war on drugs in the hill state.
Launching ‘Nasha nahin, zindagi chunne’, a joint initiative of the department of state taxes and excise and Nasha Niwaran Board, in Shimla to mark the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, the CM said additional director general of police, CID will constitute and head an STF comprising members of the state police and excise officials to tackle the menace.
Reiterating the state government’s commitment to make Himachal drug-free, Thakur said, “The state has adopted an integrated drug de-addiction policy, under which a Nasha Niwaran Board has been constituted.”
The CM announced that 73 posts for police personnel will be created and filled in the excise department for effective implementation of regulatory legislations.
He also initiated the process for forming an excise police force.
“We must make the campaign against drug abuse a mass movement. The demon can only be defeated when society joins the war,” he said, adding that advancement in technology was impeding efforts to curb drug menace. Calling for a joint effort to tackle the menace, the CM said that better coordination between cops of neighbouring states was vital to break the drug peddling chain.
“Steps are being taken to chalk out a joint strategy to check the menace,” he said, adding that the government had started a special de-addiction helpline under the CM’s helpline (1100).
“It will provide counselling and guidance to patients. Parents should also keep an eye on behavioural changes in their wards,” he said.
Admitting that the drug menace had reached remote areas of the state, the CM said, “Himachal Pradesh has made drug peddling a non-bailable offence. We have taken stringent steps to check cultivation of narcotic crops.”
Tax and excise department commissioner Yunus Khan said hemp plantation on over 40 bigha land had been destroyed by the department over the last few days.
On the occasion, the CM administered an oath against drug abuse. He distributed narcotic drug detection kits and prizes to winners of various competitions such as painting, marathon and slogan writing.
A short film on the initiatives being taken by different departments was also screened.