Amid war on drug menace, de-addiction centre in Kulgam remains occupied

Amid war on drug menace, de-addiction centre in Kulgam remains occupied

Kulgam: At a time when the state government here has finally seemed to acknowledge the menace of drug addiction and is looking for ways and means of its eradication, a de-addiction centre in Kulgam town remains occupied by paramilitary CRPF men for the last three years now.
The state government has recently come up with a “drug policy” to fight the ever growing menace of drug addiction in Kashmir. Ironically, the first three points of the sixteen point policy pertain to establishment and up gradation of de-addiction centers in the state.
Amid the outrage, growing debate over the menace of drug-addiction, seminars for public awareness and related things- people in Kulgam district lament that such a public asset remains to be occupied by the government forces.
The centre was conceived, with the aim to fight rising drug-addiction in Kulgam district, by the Social Welfare department of the district administration.
Construction started sometime in 2013-14 and as it neared completion in 2016, paramilitary men were moved in amid the post-Burhan unrest across the valley.
“Since, the forces have refused to leave the complex and it has remained under occupation,” sources in the district administration told Kashmir Reader, “The district administration has tried tooth and nail to get the complex evacuated by the forces but to no avail,”
Interestingly, the campaign by the state government has generated a lot of public support, more so in this south Kashmir district. Only this week, locals in Bonigam area of the district caught some drug peddlers and shaved their head off.
“Also local representatives have impressed upon the district administration to book drug peddlers under the Public Safety Act (PSA),” sources in the district administration said.
However, the continuous occupation of the de-addiction centre is also dampening the spirits of the local youth and some addicts, who want to come out of the vicious cycle of addiction.
“Kulgam district is one of the worst affected districts in terms of drug addiction and the sad part is that our nearest de-addiction centre is in district police lines in Anantnag-run by the police,” the locals told Kashmir Reader.
They said that the opening of the de-addiction centre would have been a huge relief to the parents of the affected youth. “Many of them do not visit Anantnag for a variety of reasons. A de-addiction centre in the vicinity would have been a boon, indeed,” the locals said.
Deputy Commissioner (DC), Kulgam, Dr Shamim Ahmad, told Kashmir Reader that he will take up the matter at concerned quarters.
“I will talk about it to the concerned authorities,” he said.
Kashmir Reader also tried to reach Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the CRPF, Sanjay Shamra. But he did not attend his phone.