In a meeting which Deputy Chief Minister Chowna Mein gave a clarion call to wage war to root-out drug and opium menace from the entire Namsai district.
In a marathon coordination meeting held in Mini Secretariat Namsai on Thursday to find means and ways to tackle and curb the prevailing threat from drugs and opium, which was chaired by the Deputy Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh Chowna Mein, a number of resolutions were adopted aimed at strengthening cooperation to combat drug abuse and opium menace in Namsai district.
The meeting, which followed a consultation of Deputy Chief Minister Chowna Mein, MLA Namsai Chow Zingnu Namchoom, senior officials of the Tax & Excise Department Itanagar & District administration Namsai, Narcotic Cell (Tax & Excise Department), senior police officers, community based organisations, NGOs, women organisations and the student organisation, gave a clarion call to wage war to root-out drug and opium menace from the entire district.
While giving his keynote address, Mein said that the meeting has been called to provide a concerted, coordinated and holistic approach to effectively deal with the problem of drugs and opium which has engulfed the entire Namsai and nearby districts.
Mein sought suggestion from all for a strategy to fight against illegal substances and said that it should be based on the principle that the issue can only be addressed by extensive cooperation, exchange of information and expertise within the society. Collective effort of all in this regard is must to counter and conquer the problem, he added.
Mein suggested that the role of parents, teachers and bhikkhu sangha of the district are equally important towards educating their children in the fight against the illicit substances. They should know what their children are doing at home and school. They should impart education at home, school and temples about the ill effect of consumption of these substances.
The Deputy Chief Minister opined that the time had come to move beyond policymaking. He said that one of the most deadly challenges confronting the State today is that of drugs and narcotics consumption and trade and Namsai has become the worst affected district. A comprehensive action plan and programme has to be developed and launched at the earliest. He suggested that now is the time to fully translate the plans and programmes into action on the ground.
“Let a strong message go today to all peddlers and addicts that they would be dealt with iron hand and will not be spared if they are found indulged in any illegal activities. Teachers who are indulged in this act will be given 2 months timeframe to improve themselves. After that, those teachers who still continues to commit the crime will not be spared and will be suspended immediately”, Mein said to the thunderous applause of the gathering.
While appreciating the efforts of NGOs called Women against Social Evils (WASE) and Adi Baane Kebang of East Siang district, Mein stressed that women from Namsai district should come out from their comfort zones and step ahead to shoulder the responsibility to root-out the dreaded disease from the society which has spread like a wildfire in the entire region.
He appealed the addicted people not to motivate the young generation in consuming opium or any other substances. Youths are the torch bearers and future of the society if they are not groomed properly than the entire society will collapse, he further said.
He emphasized for a project combining drug control and development assistance to provide basic needs for poor people with an aim to strengthen communities and to provide them with alternative means of livelihood so that they can abandon poppy cultivation.
He directed the District Medical Officer Namsai to immediately make the De-addiction Centre at Lathao functional from the untied fund made available to the DC and announced to take up the matter of upgradation of De-addiction Centre to a rehabilitation centre in the near future at the highest level.
He further directed the Police department and all the organizations to conduct and carry out raids in suspected hubs where opium are sold in the district and leave no stone unturned to nab the peddlers supplying the illicit substances.
Meanwhile, he also called upon the Tai Khampti Singpho Council, women and the youth organizations of the district to spearhead the crusade to eradicate the menace from the society.
Parliamentary Secretary Planning who is also the local legislator, Chow Zingnu Namchoom appealed CBOs, NGOs and student organizations to shun their differences and fight for a greater cause of the society. He said that it is a collective responsibility of all to raise concern and come forward to fight against these illegal substances. For this, what we need is that time to time awareness programmes in every village at grassroots level is conducted to make aware the general public of its ill effects.
He informed that the State government has initiated many welfare measures and skill development programmes for the unemployed youth to undergo training. The youth should come forward to avail such opportunities provided to them and make themselves skilled to earn their livelihood.
Namchoom also opined for judicious use of social media sites which has off late become a platform to abuse and post negative remarks against some selected persons to gain political mileage. He said that the elected representatives of this area are well aware of drugs and opium problem being faced by the people and at regular intervals this problem is being highlighted by them in highest level to find concrete solutions to curb this menace. It is because of their effort that regular de-addiction camps have been organized in the districts from time to time. All the elected representatives are going to be there to raise their concern and voice against until the last poppy plant is destroyed from the area, Namchoom added.
A Joint Action Committee (JAC) was also formed under the chairmanship of Deputy Commissioner Namsai district where representatives from all Community Based Organizations, NGOs, Women Organization and Student organization were made the members.
Divisional Commissioner Bolum Siram, Commissioner Tax and Excise Anirudh Singh, DC R.K Sharma, DIG (E) Apur Bitin and SP C.K.Mein outlined on the illicit cultivation of Poppy plant, used for production of Narcotic Drugs, diversion and trafficking of precursor chemicals and challenges and emergence of new psychotropic substances that pose a serious threat to health and safety, especially among youth, while undermining the economic, social and political stability and development of the region.
Members from CBOs, NGOs, Women wings and student organization made a detailed presentation on the current situation and the ways to tackle the problem.
The District administration and the members from CBOs, NGOs and student organizations resolved to develop and enhance cooperation and collaboration amongst them to monitor current trends of opium and drug trafficking routes, exchange of information among the drug law enforcement agencies, share and exchange experiences, best practices and enhance capacity building, to prevent and counter illicit drug trafficking and related crimes.
They decided to improve information exchange mechanisms on opium camps and hubs running in the district and illicit trafficking of any psychotropic substances. Capacity building and training of personnel of enforcement agencies and rehabilitation of addicted persons was another key focus.