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Paul Lyngdoh bats for stopping drug supply at entry points to Meghalaya, govt to soon appoint mission director for DREAM project

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SHILLONG, MAY 14: Social Welfare Minister Paul Lyngdoh has emphasized the need to detect and stop the supply of drug and other narcotic substances at the entry points to Meghalaya.

Speaking to reporters, Lyngdoh said, “I have pointed out to the deputy chief minister in-charge home (police) that we need to increase our policing at the entry points. 70% of the narcotics that come to Meghalaya come from East Jaintia Hills district and policing in that district has to be strengthened.”

“But again that will only happen when the current recruitment to the police where about 3000 more personnel will be joining the police force and 500 volunteers of the home guards will also be employed. It is only when those things happen that we can actually effectively curtail the efficacy of the drug network,” he said.

According to him, Meghalaya has one of the lowest police to civilian ratios in the entire country.

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Stating that the government had already declared a war against drugs, Lyngdoh said that the fact that there has been more detention, more cases being unearthed and more of the violators being brought to book shows the efficacy of the government and of the various interventions that the government has announced.

“Earlier on, a lot of things were happening in a manner which was totally hidden, everything was shove under the carpet but what you are saying now the intervention by the police for instance and also the detention that is happening under PITNDPS Act, 1988, which cases are now being processed for final act of forwarding the same to the advisory board, which is sitting as soon as the MCC (model code of conduct) will be lifted, shows that we are in fact cracking with all our might against these various violators whether they are people engaged in trafficking or those engaged indulging in consumption of these narcotics,” he said.

“The list is approved and forwarded to the advisory board then you will have the first instance of persons who are actually being placed under preventive detention for illegal trafficking of narcotics and that will become a huge boost to our effort to contain the menace,” he added.

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Asked, Lyngdoh said, “You will recall that the PITNDPS was invoked last year. Cases against certain frequent offenders have already been built and these people surely come under detention under this revised Act.”

He further informed that the department had also proposed appointment of a new mission director for the DREAM project as the current director is tight with a number of responsibilities in the home department.

“Apart from everything, this is something that even in the government social welfare department on its own will not be able to successfully counter and bring down the rate of drug addiction, this involved the home police, it involves the entire state machinery and certainly at the local level, we also need the active support of the community and that support as you will recall we even had exchanged programmes with faith leaders and various dorbars, the only problem we had right now is the dearth of space to set up centres, sensitization programmes are still on,” he added.

On whether it is the right approach by NGOs to apprehend drug users, the minister however said there is need to build a rapport with society and traditional institutions are requested to play their role in the setting up of deaddiction and rehabilitation centres at the village and locality level.

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“We have maintained that we need community participation. We have already declared an all out war against drugs and to do that we need to build a rapport with society. We have been requesting for various dorbars to come up with space for setting up of deaddiction and rehabilitation centres and a major centre is already being built at Mawlai,” he said.

Also stating that funds constraint is a problem as of date, Lyngdoh said, “This is because of the announcement of the general elections and the absence of a popular government in Delhi.” He assured that once a new government takes over in Delhi “whatever we have been in conversation with the union ministry will continue”.

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