Jalandhar, November 20
As many as 27 drug hotspots have been identified in Jalandhar district, including eight in rural areas, where 443 FIRs have been lodged under the NDPS Act and a total of 571 men and 94 women have been arrested so far.
The police have seized 15 kg of opium, 2,779-kg poppy husk, 6-kg heroin, 575 gm of narcotic powder, 60-gm charas, 15 kg of ganja, 24 kg of green leaf, 152-gm ICE, 1,189 injections, 39,679 intoxicanting tablets, 1,896 capsules and 190 syrups.
In May, a video of a woman selling drugs from her home at Ganna Pind went viral after which cops arrested her. The accused, Manjit, was arrested with 10-gm heroin. Her father-in-law had 15 cases registered against him under the NDPS Act and her husband was also out on bail.
In August, another video went viral where parents could be seen wailing over the death of their son who died allegedly due to drug overdose. The body of their 27-year-old son, Ranjodh Singh of Talwandi Butian village, was found abandoned in the fields at Reharwa village in Moga.
The eight hotpots in rural areas include Kingra Cho Wala village in Adampur, Shankar and Malri village in Nakodar, Dharme Dian Channan, Bute Dian Channan and Mohalla Bagwala in Shahkot , Ganna Pind and Selkiana in Phillaur.
The 19 hotspots identified by the Health Department include Basti Shiekh, Model Town, Ghas Mandi, Bhago Camp, Makotrar, Qadian, Basti Danishmandan, Qazi Mandi, Kot Sadiq, Dhina, Dhilwan, Rama Mandi, Ekta Nagar, Chugitti, Noorpur, Patara and Surya Enclave.
Jalandhar Rural SSP Swarandeep Singh said, “We are committed to eradicate drug menace and our efforts are yielding results. Eight hotposts have been identified in rural areas. We are running special operations to nab peddlers. One of the reasons for mushrooming of peddlers in some pockets is that when one member of a family is nabbed, others start running the same trade.”
Sarpanch Harjinder Singh of Dayalpur, a village acknowledged for its efforts to curb drug abuse among youth, said, “No matter which party forms the government, ‘chitta’ is always available. Majority of our youngsters are again hooked to it. Supply of contraband to our village comes from Hamira, Murar, Dogranwal, Bootan and Dhamman. There is a section on the highway known as ‘chitte wale ghar’. Sarpanches of these villages are scared to speak up.” Harjinder added, “If officials have information regarding who is burning stubble, how come they don’t know who is selling ‘chitta’? Even politicans are mum when it comes to drug peddlers.”
Four years ago, Dayalpur panchayat started to admit addicts to the Outpatient Opioid Assisted Treatment (OOAT) centre at Sheikhe village, which was later shifted to the Kartarpur Civil Hospital.
A counsellor at one of the OOAT centres said, “The government has changed, but supply of chitta has also increased. There are 100 per cent chances of relapse due to its availability. While ‘chitta’ is more prevalent, the use of tramadol has decreased. Pain relievers, Prega and Mef Spas, are also being used by addicts. There is an increase in youth aged 16 and 17 years coming to us for treatment. Other patients include truckers and labourers.”
Sushma (name changed), whose 17-year-old brother, a factory worker, said, “My brother was quiet, but he took to drugs. He quit his job six months ago and since then his behaviour and friends changed. As a result, we had to admit him to a hospital.”
Dr Aman Sood, incharge, De-Addiction Centre, Civil Hospital, said, “Chitta is readily available. We have an OPD and 37 OOAT centres for rehabilitating addicts.
Staff shortage at OOAT centres
- There are 37 OOAT centres in Jalandhar district of which 26 came up in June this year
- Due to shortage of staff, some counsellors perform duty both at rural and urban centres
- Counsellors rued that they were being paid Rs 10,000 per month for the past four years
- The OOAT centres treated 3,085 patients in 2018 and their number increased to 17,067 in November
- A counsellor said use of ‘chitta’ is more prevalent in the district and demand of tramadol has decreased
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