Centre assures support to Punjab on drug problem

Centre assures support to Punjab on drug problemCHANDIGARH: A three-member delegation from Union Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment led by its Joint Secretary Ghaza Meenai today pledged “all support and cooperation” to the Punjab government in its mission to make the state drug free.

An assurance to this effect was given by Meenai to Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal during her meeting with the latter here, an official release said.

Taking part in deliberation, Meenai apprised the Chief Minister that she would thrash out all the issues after detailed deliberations with the Principal Secretary Health and Secretary Social Security to work out modalities for funding the drug de-addiction centers under the guidelines of ‘Central Sector Scheme of Assistance for Prevention of Alcoholism and Substance (Drugs) Abuse and for Social Defense Services’.

She told the Chief Minister that the Ministry could easily fund the running cost incurred on the drug de-addiction as per the guidelines of the scheme instead of allocating funds for infrastructure.

She, however said that the Ministry would certainly look into the state government’s proposal to be submitted after the preliminary discussions from all the angles to bail out the state in its crusade against the drug abuse.

She said that the issue of giving grants to the registered drug de-addiction and rehabilitation societies at the district levels separately or collectively would also be thoroughly examined after discussions with the state departments of Health and Social Security. .
The Chief Minister said that the state is already fighting a war against drug abuse with a missionary zeal and the financial assistance from Centre at this critical juncture would give a big boost to bring our campaign, for elimination of drug menace at its logical end, the release said.

Badal also sought Center’s help to dissuade the Rajasthan government for allowing open sale and trafficking of poppy husk and other narcotics freely in his state which he said ultimately derailed their efforts to curb this menace with heavy hand.

He said that the Centre should intensify its efforts to effectively check the free flow of poppy husk from across Rajasthan border into Punjab.

Badal hoped that Centre could play a pro-active role here by asking the Rajasthan government to ban the open sale of poppy husk.

The delegation would also visit the Drug De-addiction Centers at Jalandhar and Amritsar to take stock of the situation besides seeking inputs from the Civil Surgeons about their functioning.–PTI