ITANAGAR- Chief Secretary Naresh Kumar, attending a meeting of the State Level Technical Expert Committee at CS Conference Hall in the Civil Secretariat, today expressed his deep concern over the drug menace in the State. Eight districts namely, Namsai, Lohit, Dibang Valley, Upper Siang, Anjaw, Changlang, Tirap and West Kameng are reported to be amongst the 272 worst affected districts in the country.
On reports that many of the Government employees are involved in drug abuse, it was decided that a toxicology test will be done in the worst affected district. Strong action will be initiated against the erring Government official involved in any drugs related activities in any form.
Chief Secretary underlines that destruction of illicit opium poppy or cannabis cultivation is not enough to curb the menace. Education on Drug/substance abuse in Secondary Schools and Senior Secondary Schools, and incorporation of women and PRI members etc are imperative, he said.
Education on Drug/substance abuse to the senior boys and girls in Schools should be taught through standard activities under the guidance of trained teachers, he pointed out.
Women and PRI members based activities have been found as a preferred intervention in terms of sensitive handling of the matters; hence their incorporation for behavioral change needs to be incorporated for good influence at the ground level. They should be trained to undertake public education on the menace of drugs for mass awareness. Proper sensitization and orientation to undertake kiwi, large cardamom, ginger and others as an alternate cash crop; trained medical counselors, etc are some important points highlighted by the CS.
Considering the need of manpower and other logistics, the Chief Secretary advised for optimal use of existing manpower and infrastructures by reorienting and refurbishing them.
To address the growing menace of Substance/ Drug abuse in Arunachal Pradesh, the State Level Technical Expert Committee (SLTEC) was tasked in November 2020 to prepare A Comprehensive Action Plan. Accordingly a team of 22 subject experts from Police, Deptt of Forest, State Planning Deptt, NDPS (AP), Agriculture Deptt, Horticulture Deptt, SBI (Itanagar), Skill Development Department (Deptt), Administrative Reform, Deptt of Law & Justice, etc were constituted under the Chairmanship of Mrs. Mamta Riba Joint Secretary Health & Family Welfare.
As a way forward, the SLTEC recommended the executed committee of NCORD may be allowed to function as State Task Force to oversee implementation of programmes who may meet Bi-monthly. It also recommended engagement for a study on Situational Analysis on Substance Abuse in Arunachal Pradesh and its Management with guidance from National Institute of Social Defence. It further recommended engagement of study group for a comprehensive baseline survey on substance abuse, HIV, Sex workers, and vulnerable group through competent survey consultants.
Secretary (Agri, Horti) Bidol Tayeng, Shashrat Saurabh IAS, Soumya Saurabh IAS, Mrs Mamta Riba and others were present in the meeting.