Himachal sees drive against cannabis, opium cultivation

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Shimla, June 17 (IANS) The interiors of Himachal Pradesh, especially in the Kullu Valley infamous for cannabis and opium cultivation, have seen special drives by making officials and elected representatives at the grassroots accountable, the government said on Sunday.

The number of cases under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act in the state has multiplied three times in a decade.

All revenue officials, forest officials and elected representatives of Panchayati Raj bodies are duty bound under Section 47 of the NDPS Act to inform the police about the illegal cultivation of cannabis and opium-poppy in their respective area of jurisdiction, Director General of Police S.R. Mardi said.

They will give the information in writing to the Station House Officer concerned and also to the Superintendent of Police.

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The forest officials are also duty bound to report its illegal cultivation to the police, he said in a statement.

Once illegal cultivation is detected, a joint campaign will be launched to destroy such cultivation by involving all stakeholders and enforcement agencies like police.

These agencies will submit progress report on poppy, opium and cannabis destruction before August 15, Mardi said.

The drive, launched on April 15, will be carried by end of this month.

The narcotics trade is assuming horrific shape in Kullu where a large numbers of tourists, mostly Israelis, pour in every year.

This has inspired local farmers to clandestinely cultivate illegal poppy or cannabis crops to earn quick bucks.

All Superintendents of Police will associate Mahila Mandals, Yuvak Mandals and other NGOs while conducting the destruction of opium poppy and cannabis crops.

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The Agriculture and Horticulture Departments in coordination with the Rural Development Department will jointly submit a proposal to adopt alternative cash crops suitable for areas cultivating opium and cannabis illegally.

The sensitising school students is also part of the ongoing campaign.

Training module for the nodal training officers of the Education Department to sensitise the students on drug abuse will be prepared, the government said.

During parent-teacher meetings, parents will also be sensitised against drug abuse.

Counselling sessions are also being organised once in a week in educational institutions on drug abuse.

–IANS

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