PULWAMA: The uncontrolled growth of wild weed plants has emerged as a major menace in south Kashmir districts as the easy availability of marijuana attracts youth towards addiction.
Locals say that the banks of river Jehlum and adjacent areas have turned into hubs of wild Bangg. Many people living in the areas adjacent to the Jhelum banks are involved in illegal trade of the contraband varieties. Even as the police and narcotics control bureau busted several smuggler gangs and conducted bhang destroying campaigns but the menace remains prevalent.
Locals said that a large number of youngsters has turned to weed addiction in main town of Shopian. Abdul Majid, a local resident said the easy availability of bhang along roadsides and outside orchard fencings on fallow land was the main cause of drug addiction.
Umar Mukhtar, a resident of Pulwama told Kashmir Reader that the unavailability of drug de-addiction centers and counseling in the southern parts is another cause for rapid growth of drug addiction.
Experts say that impact of conflict was also taking a heavy toll on the younger generation. “There is no respect for youth from the government’s side. The harassment by police and effects of violence are also the reasons for youth to get involved in weed addiction or trade related to it, they say.
Fayaz Ahmad Razvi of Tehrik-i-soutul-ul- Awliya, a religious organization told Kashmir Reader that they were going to start an awareness campaign against drug addiction.
Aresident of Chitragam village told Kashmir Reader that volunteer Bhand destroying campaigns should be started at village levels with the consent of village elders and religious bodies. “In south Kashmir we have plenty of Brush Cutters which we use for cutting grass in our orchards. With the help of these machines we can eradicate the bhang menace as well its side effects,” he said.
Muhammad Ilyas, a resident of Wachi village told Kashmir Reader that the percentage of weed business and its addicts has reduced due the de-addiction campaigns and destroying bhang drives by Jammu and Kashmir Police but the rate is still alarming.
Senior superintendent of police Pulwama, Chowdary Muhammad Aslam told Kashmir Reader that from August 15 they will start a major drive to destroy the wild bhang in the Pulwama area.
Deputy Commissioner (excise) Kashmir, GM Bhat told Kashmir Reader that they were continuously destroying the cultivated bhang. “The major areas where the people were cultivating bhang are Melhora, Dupadyar, Kanelwan, Taknibal, Waghama, Tulkhan areas of south Kashmir’s Anantnag, Pulwama and Shopian districts, our jurisdiction is to destroy cultivated bhang,” he said.
Deputy inspector general of police south Kashmir, S P Pani told Kashmir Reader that police department was continuously destroying the cultivated as well as wild bhang. “It is up to civil administration to counsel the youth who were addicted to the bhang or drugs,” he said.