Abandoned school buildings are turning into an annoyance for the locals in South Kashmir’s Pulwama district. The buildings are being used by drug addicts and locals have been bearing the menace for several years now.
Interestingly, around 800 school buildings have been abandoned post rationalisation and upgradation process initiated by the education department to streamline the pupil teacher ratio in the government schools.
In the premises of the buildings, one can find empty bottles of codeine (the most abused prescription drug) and empty strips of drugs used by the addicts, who come in the evening hours mostly and involve in drug abuse in these abandoned school.
The school buildings has been literally taken over by the addicts at a time when government claims to boost the education system in Jammu and Kashmir, claimed a local.
These buildings have become hub of illegal activities and are being used for drug abuse, causing inconvenience for the people living around. These buildings are also being used for timber, cannabis, poppy straw smuggling as smugglers dump the banned or smuggled items inside during night hours which is later taken out during the wee hours.
Importantly, government had claimed that all these abandoned buildings would be used for allocated for Aaganwari centres but no initiative has been taken yet in this regard.
A teacher (name withheld) presented a grim and woeful tale about these abandoned buildings. He said that youngsters are falling prey to the drugs easily as they are using these abandoned buildings to carry out their ill designs.
Dr Arshad Hussain, psychiatrist at the Government Psychiatric Diseases Hospital (GPDH), Kashmir, says the menace of drug addiction has gripped many areas as many youngsters are falling into the trap.
“There is no doubt that drug abuse has increased in Kashmir. Historically, a low drug addiction zone, Kashmir has lost its innocence. The statistics now are alarming. Mostly youth in the 18-35 age group have fallen in the trap. Deaths are reported in young men because of opium use,” Hussain said.