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Drugs and narcotics menace in Himachal: 133 kg charas, 10 kg opium, 223 grams heroin seized in 3 months

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Himachal Youth in Drugs

133 kg of “charas” (cannabis), 10 kg opium, 223 grams heroin, 6.03 kg ganja and 0.004 gm of smack seized in the state in three months from April 1.

SHIMLA- Himachal Pradesh, like neighbouring Punjab, is facing a deadly menace drugs and narcotics. In just three months, 274 narcotic-related cases were registered and 320 people were arrested, police records show.

The menace has attained alarming proportions and has turned into a matter of concern not just for the state government but for the courts too.

The state high court is not only pulling up government functionaries on each and every day for apparent lapses in dealing with this growing threat, but virtually rapped them on their knuckles about the steps they have to initiate to counter it.

Quoting a study by the Indira Gandhi Medical College and Hospital, a recent judgment by a bench headed by Justice Rajiv Sharma observed 40 per cent youth in the state are involved in drug abuse.

Also Read: Himachal’s Cannabis/Opium Eradication Drive: 1.89 crore cannabis plants, 1.65 crore opium plants uprooted from 1,527.05 hectare

Agreeing, Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh said the government has adopted zero tolerance towards narcotics. Our

Our neighbouring state (Punjab) is badly affected by drugs and in our state too its menace is a serious challenge,

he said

Whether it’s Malana (in Kullu Valley) or any remote area that is known for growing opium or cannabis, the government is currently destroying their cultivation,

he added.

Police officials said that the inaccessible valleys and lofty mountains in the western Himalayas are areas for cultivation of cannabis and opium. They are the country’s biggest drug-producing areas with a considerable quantity finding its way to Europe.

kumarsain Police Canabis Eradicaiton

An official said the lure of drugs and quick bucks also attracts foreigners to the largely unexplored areas of Himachal Pradeshwhere they have become part of unorganised drug cultivation. Some of them never return home — they simply disappear mysteriously.

Police records show that there are 50,000 acres in Kullu Valley alone where cannabis is cultivated.

Chief Secretary V.C. Pharka, who was monitoring the fortnight-long statewide campaign that ended on September 5, said cannabis crops on 19,157 bighas of government land and 6,040 bighas of private land and 76,093 poppy plants were destroyed. (One bigha is 0.4 hectare.)

Countering this, BJP legislator and former minister Ravinder Ravi said that areas in the state bordering Punjab and Haryana have become drug hubs. The drug menace has assumed alarming proportions in pilgrim centres and tourist destinations too.

In the just-concluded assembly session, he said, a stationery shop in the vicinity of a senior secondary school in Thural, some 90 km from Dharamsala town, sold ink eraser fluid worth Rs 3 lakh in just one year.

Thural is a small sub-tehsil. There are one or two small government offices. The sale of fluid bottles worth Rs 3 lakh in a year is a matter of concern,

he said.

The volume of this clandestine trade can be gauged from a government reply in the assembly that 133 kg of “charas” or cannabis, 10 kg opium, 223 grams heroin, 6.03 kg ganja and 0.004 gm of smack was seized in the state in three months from April 1.

Officials say over 60 per cent of the poppy and cannabis produce in Himachal Pradesh is smuggled out to countries like Israel, Italy, Holland and some other European countries. The remaining finds its way to Nepal or Indian states like Goa, Punjaband Delhi.

In the past five years, over 70 foreigners, mainly Britons, Israelis, Dutch, Germans, Japanese and Italians, have been arrested under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act.

The Magic Valley in the upper reaches of Malana, some 50 km from Kullu town, is known for cultivating “Malana Cream”, the prized hashish, a purified resinous extract of cannabis.

Easy availability of Narcotics in McLeodganj and its surrounding areas in Kangra district and Kasol in Kullu district have turned the areas into an addicts’ haven, say the police.

Also Read: Shimla drug kingpin arrested with 16 kg drugs, police seizes jewellery, 3 houses, vehicles

The crime rate under the NDPS Act is 7.7 per cent in Himachal Pradesh, compared to 2.8 per cent in the country.

OP Sharma, a former superintendent of the Narcotics Control Bureau, said

alternative farming is the only way of controlling poppy and cannabis cultivation.

Citing field surveys, he estimates over 2,500 villages dotted across inaccessible valleys and lofty mountains in Kullu, Chamba, Mandi, Shimla and Sirmaur districts are known for growing cannabis and poppy cultivation.

Also Read: Himachal Govt. objects to ‘Udta Punjab’ for showing its pharma hub ‘Barotiwala’ as drug supply source

Referring to Malana, known for the prized hashish, Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh said the government would provide high-quality imported rootstock of apples to the locals so that they can opt for alternative and remunerative cultivation.

In other cannabis growing areas, he said the government would promote cultivation of exotic vegetables and flowers.

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Himachal Reports Spike in Covid Casualties with 64 Deaths in 24-hours; 4,977 Fresh Infections Reported

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Shimla-Himachal Pradesh reported a surge in Covid-19 fatalities on Tuesday as 64 people died due to the infection, while 4,977 new cases were reported within the last 24 hours. This takes the death toll to 1,989 while the total cases of coronavirus in the state till now to 1,40,759.

Out of 64 dead, only 11 patients had comorbidities. While thirteen patients were below the age of 50. This indicates the aggressive nature of the new variant of coronavirus that has been ravaging the country. The highest casualties were reported from Kangra district with 21 deaths while Solan district reported 12 deaths followed by Mandi district with 10 fatalities.

As the fatalities are increasing across the state, the sampling of infection has still not touched even the 20,000 mark. On Tuesday 14,722 people were sampled while 3,713 tests remain awaited.

View the District-wise Details of all COVID-19 Cases for May 11, 2021 (Till 7 pm) Below:

hp health dpt

Out of 2,445 beds available across the state in the Covid hospitals, only 63 ICU beds are available. While 415 beds have oxygen support.

On Tuesday the state government also issued a notification announcing that health workers who have received both the Covid vaccine shots will not have to follow the quarantine protocol after rendering their services in health care facilities.

On the condition of anonymity, a health official told Himachal Watcher that Himachal Medical Officers Association (HMOA) has opposed this move as cases of infection despite vaccination continue to appear.

The spike in Covid cases across the state has highlighted the shortage of healthcare workers in the state as medical infrastructure moves toward the brink of a formidable caseload.

Further, the state needs to consider the meagre incentives the frontline workers are receiving and the overwhelming effect it will have on their mental and physical health.

Himachal is currently under a corona curfew with restrictions on interstate movement. But the government maintains that it’s not a lockdown as some exceptions have been included in the activities to be allowed.

View the District-wise Details of all COVID-19 Deaths for May 11, 2021 (Till 7 pm) Below:

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Shimla City’s Sanitation Worker Dies of Covid-19, Demand Raised to Pay Rs. 50 Lakh Ex-Gratia as Assured to All Frontline Workers  

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Shimla– Sanitation workers/garbage collectors in Himachal Pradesh are among the frontline workers who had been performing their duties unabated regardless of lockdowns. Right from the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, sanitation workers have been playing their part in combating it. The pandemic has grown deadlier this year with its second wave. Sanitation workers and garbage-collectors are at higher risk of contracting the infection due to the nature of their job. 

One of these sanitation workers, Sun Kumar, working under the Shimla Environment, Heritage & Beautification Society (SHEB) as a garbage collector, succumbed to Covid-19.

He was about 32-year-old and is survived by a wife and an infant. Demand has been raised to pay Rs. 50 lakh as Ex-Gratia and job to a family member. When the concerned authority was asked regarding the same, it said a request has been forwarded to higher officials for the Ex-Gratia and situation would be clear only after their approval. 

The former mayor of Shimla, Sanjay Chauhan, was one of those raising this demand.

“The city didn’t lose a sanitation worker but a Covid warrior due to the coronavirus,” he said in a statement released today.

“The government has recognized sanitation workers as frontline workers and had decided to pay Rs. 50 as Ex-Gratia to any such worker who dies on duty. So, the family should be paid the said amount at the earliest along with ensuring employment to one of the family members,” he demanded.

Pertinent to mention that on April 23, 2020, the Himachal Pradesh Government had announced that a sum of Rs. 50 lakhs would be paid as Ex-Gratia out of HPSDMA COVID-19 State Disaster Response Fund to the next of kin of those officers and officials working in the State Government (except health workers) i.e. regular, outsourced, contractual, daily wagers and employees of SEHB Society of Municipal Corporation Shimla engaged in sanitation activities and working in different capacities for the response, relief and containment measures of COVID-19, in case of their death due to COVID-19 pandemic.

Chauhan further appealed to the state government to provide high-quality PPE kits to all the frontline workers of various departments deployed on the Covid duty. He also demanded that the Municipal Corporation, Shimla, should also ensure regular health checkups of its employees to prevent any further loss of lives.   

The state on 17th January 2021 had vaccinated Hardeep Singh, a sanitation worker at the Indira Gandhi Medical Collage & Hospital, Shimla. He was the first person in Himachal to get the vaccine jab. Also, sanitation workers were also honoured last year and certificates of appreciation were given to workers of wards number 16 and 17. 

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Himachal: 53 Succumb to Severe Covid Symptoms in 24 Hours, Spike in Fatality Rate Among Patients With No Comorbidities

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Shimla-On Monday, Himachal reported 4,359 new cases of coronavirus while 53 people succumbed to severe symptoms of infection. This took the state death toll to 1,925 and the total number of infections to 1,35,782 till now according to official data.

 Kangra district continues to report the highest numbers of daily deaths due to coronavirus. In the last 24 hours, the district reported 18 deaths. While the Solan district reported the second-highest casualties with eight deaths in the last 24-hours. The youngest patient to succumb to coronavirus was a 24-year-old man from the Solan district. The man died of sudden cardiopulmonary arrest with severe SARS COVID 19 Pneumonia according to official data. No other comorbidity was cited in the report.

About 16 of the deceased persons were aged below 50 years. According to the official statistics, at least 45 (84%) of the deceased had no comorbidities.

View the District-wise Details of all COVID-19 Cases for May 10, 2021 (Till 7 pm) Below:

dailly covid case himachal

Source: HP NHM

Meanwhile, in its recent press statement, a state government spokesperson said that the positivity rate of Covid-19 across the state has come out to be 26.3% in the last week. Districts of Kangra, Bilaspur, Hamirpur, Shimla, Mandi, Solan, and Sirmour have recorded a positivity rate of more than 20 percent from May 3 to May 9. 

In the last 24-hours, a total of 10,746 Covid testings was done across the state out of which 1,180 remains awaited.

Till now the state has conducted 16,33,923 sampling across the state however, the daily testing rate continues to fluctuate and remains below 20,000 tests per day.

Further, according to the government, by May 10, a total of 16,59,619 people had received the vaccine, out of which 38,0791 people had received both doses. Meanwhile, the state has gone under stricter corona curfew with restrictions imposed on interstate travelling as well.

View the District-wise Details of all COVID-19 Deaths for May 10, 2021 (Till 7 pm) Below:

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