Himachal coordinating with states to counter narcotics trade: CM

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Shimla, Aug 30 (IANS) The Himachal Pradesh government is coordinating with neighbouring states by forming joint task forces to counter narcotics trade, Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur said here on Thursday.

In a written reply to a question in the Assembly, he said that the state is addressing both the sides, demand and supply, of the drug problem.

The campaign has been launched to crackdown on smugglers and peddlers with great vigour. Greater manpower has been allocated to develop intelligence with regard to drug smugglers, the Chief Minister, who also holds the home portfolio, said.

At an inter-state meeting, it was decided to maintain a strict vigil on borders by installing CCTV cameras.

Regarding the registration of cases, Thakur said till July 31 a total of 788 cases, were registered under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act in the state.

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In these cases, 1,002 smugglers or peddlers, including nine foreigners, were arrested.

A celebrity campaign against drug use has been undertaken by the police.

Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama has also appealed against drug abuse on Facebook and Twitter.

A strategic vigil is being maintained outside educational institutions to keep a watch on drug peddlers and random checks are also being carried out in eateries and shops to seize contrabands and apprehend peddlers, the Chief Minister said.

The state has decided to open at least four de-addiction centers in the state, besides rehabilitation centres, using corporate social responsibility funds.

Officials told IANS that over 60 per cent of the poppy and cannabis produced in Himachal Pradesh is smuggled out to countries like Israel, Italy, Holland and some other European countries. The remaining finds its way to Nepal or to Indian states like Goa, Punjab and Delhi.

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Easy availability of narcotics in McLeodganj and its surrounding areas in Kangra district and Karsol in Kullu district has turned the areas into an addicts’ haven, police said.

The Magic Valley in the upper reaches of Malana, some 50 km from Kullu town, is known for cultivating the prized “Malana Cream” hashish, a purified resinous extract of cannabis.

–IANS

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