Tharu drug de-addiction centre in need of treatment : The Tribune India

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Tarn Taran Diary

Tharu drug de-addiction centre in need of treatment

Tharu drug de-addiction centre in need of treatment

The main gate of the Government Drug De-addiction and Rehabilitation Centre, Tharu. Its name is no longer clearly visible. Photo by writer

The Government Drug De-addiction and Rehabilitation Centre, Tharu, in Tarn Taran district is in a shambles which has affected the treatment of addicts. The centre has neither proper staff nor adequate funds for maintenance. The 50-bed centre was never run at full capacity in the last six years. It was opened a decade back for not only treating addicts but to provide them with training to become self-dependent. The de-addiction centre is situated at a vantage place to provide natural, pollution-free and peaceful atmosphere to make the addicts mentally healthy. But it has been given step-motherly treatment during the last eight years. At present, except for giving tablets from the OOAT centre, all the activities have been closed for one or the other reason. There was a time when patients admitted here were imparted vocational training to become a carpenter, welder, fitters etc. They used to play volleyball and tennis but the activities have been discontinued for reasons best known to the administration. The centre besides helping drug addicts recover, included activities such as yoga, physical and mental therapies and spiritual engagement too. The vocational activities have been closed and the building for the purpose remains locked. The whole building is in a poor state due to lack of repair; even the name written at the main gate of the centre has been washed out but the health department has no funds to restore it. There is shortage of trained manpower with posts lying vacant for years now. There is no provision for a round-the-clock doctor, only one doctor is presently posted on temporary basis who hasn’t received any formal training. Even the staff is sourced from various facilities with no continuity. There is no regular psychiatrist too. The centre presently has five patients against a capacity of 50. Though there is a crippling shortage of doctor and other essential health personnel in the district, the current state of affairs of the institution shows a lackadaisical attitude on the part of authorities. Dr Ramandeep Singh Padda, Deputy Medical Commissioner, said he releases all funds received from the state government to the Senior Medical Officer (SMO), Civil Hospital, Tarn Taran, and is not aware of anything more. Mukhtar Singh, convener of ‘Kafan Bol Pia’ (At last coffin speaks) said the condition in the district was such that even school-going boys were dying of drug over-dose but the government had failed to control the threat. He said there has been a constant rise in cases of addiction in the state over the past years and the trend doesn’t seem to be changing as is evident from the constant flow of news about deaths due to drug overdose, increase in petty and organised crime, use of high-tech methods of smuggling such as drones and the never-ending lines outside private and government de-addiction centres. Mukhtar Singh also said that the root cause, namely, unemployment, sense of demoralisation, lack of education, awareness and vision for future amongst the youth, call for curative measures like better law enforcement and better treatment facilities. The existing infrastructure to tackle this menace is in a shambles across the district.

Enjoying life after superannuation

Harpal Singh Sandhawalia in his library at home. Photo by writer

Harpal Singh Sandhawalia, a retired District Education Officer (DEO), is enjoying his life in a creative way. An all-rounder, Harpal Singh is not only known as an educationist and administrator but is also a football player, a poet with progressive thinking and a kind-hearted personality. He had his aspirations which was of leading the sports club of his native Vein Poin village. His one book on Punjabi poetry is also in the market and his articles on different topics find suitable space in Punjabi dailies. After his retirement, he has adjusted his daily routine. He gets up at 5 in the morning and after the daily chores, sits in his library at home from 10 am where he reads books and writes articles for more than five hours. Walking and playing football is part of his routine too. These days he has started reading a number of books related to the country’s freedom movement. He said he had came to know after reading certain documents that there were many occasions when there was a difference of opinion between Mahatma Gandhi and the Congress party. He said the feeling of freedom was created in the minds of the countrymen on the same day when the country was made slave. He said that he was thinking of writing a book on the subject. He said there must be mutual understanding between two different movements working at the same time and the difference of thought within a single movement. Writing poems and stories, meanwhile, continue as usual for Harpal Singh. (Contributed by Gurbaxpuri)

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