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NDPS cases in Himachal tripled in last 10 years, poppy, cannabis cultivators on Govt target

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NDPS cases in Himachal Pradesh in last 10 years

Shimla: Himachal Pradesh has turned into a major attraction for foreign tourists. Sadly, far more than its outstanding geography, people and culture, the tourist influx reveals a deadly narcotic nexus. An increasing number of localities are falling prey to this business and addiction.

In Himachal Pradesh, the growing narcotics menace has overwhelmed a large number of youths in Kullu, Manali, Mandi and Shimla. The narcotics trade is assuming a horrific shape in Kullu where large numbers of tourists, mostly Israelis, pour in every year. This has inspired local farmers to clandestinely cultivate illegal poppy or cannabis crops to earn quick bucks.

The number of cases registered under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act in Himachal Pradesh has more than tripled in last decade, the state government confirms. 

A comprehensive destruction campaign against the cultivation of Opium Poppy was launched from 15-4-2018 in all the districts of the State especially in areas where such cultivation is reported.

The drive is being launched through the Panchayats for the destruction of cannabis crop is grown areas by the end of June 2018.

HP Police’s Action Plan

Giving details of the action plan being undertaken during the campaign, the Director General of Police, Sita Ram Mardi, informed that all revenue and forest officials, elected representatives of Panchayati Raj Bodies, and Urban Local Bodies are duty bound under section 47 of ND&PS Act, 1985 to inform police about the illegal cultivation of cannabis and opium-poppy in their respective area of jurisdiction.

They will give the information in writing to concerned SHO and to Superintendent of Police. The forest officials to patrol in their respective jurisdiction and report the illegal cultivation in their beat to the police.

Once illegal cultivation is detected, a joint campaign will be launched to destroy such cultivation by involving all stakeholders, enforcement agencies such as police, NCB, SNCB, CID and departments of Forests, Revenue, Panchayati Raj and Rural Development.

These agencies will submit a progress report on poppy, opium and cannabis destruction before August 15, 2018. All SPs will associate Mahila Mandals, Yuvak Mandals and other NGOs while conducting the destruction of opium poppy and cannabis crops.
Agriculture and Horticulture departments in coordination with Rural Development department jointly will submit a proposal to adopt alternative cash crops suitable for areas cultivating opium poppy and cannabis illegally.

Sensitizing School Students

Training module for Nodal training Officers of Education department to sensitize students on drug abuse will be prepared. During PTA and SMC meetings, parents of students will also be sensitized on this issue.

Counselling sessions are also being organized once in a week in educational institutions on drug abuse. It was also emphasized that surprised checking should be carried out randomly in and around the educational institutions to identify such students who indulge in drug abuse. The major objective of such counselling is to reach the supplier of drugs through students.

All shops/dhabas located near educational institutions be kept under strict surveillance and their inspection be carried out time to time and suspicious activities around these institutions will be informed to the police.

Public Relations Department will run a massive awareness programme through different methodologies including street plays on the ill effects of drug abuse. However, street play team of Ist IRBn Bangarh Una has already set into action.

The health department will share publicity material of drug abuse on 104 helplines with Education and Public Relations departments for its further dissemination among the public.

Cannabis/Hemp Legalization Could Help Eradicate Drug Mafia

The State High Court would be convening next hearing in a petition filed regarding scopes of legalising cannabis cultivation after replacing the current species with hemp.

Hemp belongs to the cannabis family but the amount of psychoactive substance found in currently grown cannabis is almost negligible.

The genetically modified hemp will possess only .3 to 1 percent potency as compared to 3 to 4 found in the currently cultivated plant. Apparently, these plants will be of no use to the drug users.

The petition argues that while hemp could revolutionize rural economy due to its enormous scope in the manufacturing of as many as 25, 000 products including fibre and biofuel, it can also help eradicate the role of mafia. 

The villagers who are indulged in illegal cultivation of cannabis for money would get employment, the petition argues. 

In fact, the representatives of Bombay Hemp Company had in October 2017 called on Governor Acharya Devvrat at Rajbhawan and gave a presentation on utilizing Industrial Hemp as a strategic asset devoted to a reformation of agriculture and boosting its role in the economy alongwith uplifting socio-economic standards of local farmers.

A bench of Acting Chief Justice Sanjay Karol and Justice Ajay Mohan Goel had also asked the State and Centre government to provide its response.

However, the government is not taking any interest in this direction. Meanwhile, common people are still mistaking this legalisation petition as an attempt to legalise cannabis smoking, which is not the case here.

For more information, you can read this previous report published on Himachal Watcher.

Misc News/Press Release

Season’s First Spell of Snow in Shimla, Manali, Cold Wave Intensifies Across State

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Snowfall in Shimla and Manali 2019

Shimla-Manali and Shimla received the first spell of snow in this season on Thursday. Tourist destinations like Kufri, Narkanda, Kharapather, Kotkhai etc were covered in snow.

The Rampur-Shimla Highway was closed to traffic after snow piled up. The traffic on this route was re-routed through Basantpur. About 20 routes in the upper Shimla region, including Chaupal and Rohru, are also hit by snow. 

After some minor accidents were reported, Shimla Police has requested drivers to be careful while driving in snowy conditions.

Drive Carefully! With season's first spell of snow, roads in #Shimla became riskier to drive. On Thursday morning, an…

โพสต์โดย Himachal Watcher เมื่อ วันพฤหัสบดีที่ 12 ธันวาคม 2019

Another popular tourist destination of the state, Manali, also received the first spell of snow in this season, cheering the hospitality industry. Solang Nala and Gulaba received about one foot of snow, while Marhi received two feet. Rohtang Pass has received over three feet of snow. All traffic on Rohtang Pass and Solang Nala routes was stopped near Nehrukund. Snow has hit traffic movement and electricity supply in some parts of Manali.

Other than these destinations, Lahaul-Spiti, Pangi, and Kinnaur were also disconnected from the rest of the state due to snow. Over 75 routes across Himachal were hit by snow.

Some parts of Sirmaur including Churdhar and higher reaches of Mandi district, including Shikari Devi and Kamarunag, also received a spell of snow. 
Shimla city and plains witnessed rain since morning.

The cold wave has intensified in the state with the ongoing spell of snow and rain. The Himachal Pradesh met department has predicted more snowfall on December 13. The Met on Wednesday had issued a yellow weather warning for 12th and 13th December with a prediction of rain and snow in most places across the state.

The Met has predicted that the state could receive more snow and rain till December 15, which would further intensify cold wave.

Weather Prediction for Himachal Pradesh 2019

Source: HP Met

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Misc News/Press Release

Missing Youth Case: Friend to Face Polygraph Test, Family Questions Police Investigation

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Missing Shimla Youth Shubham

Shimla-In the case related to the disappearance of Shubham, a local of Shimla’s Rohru, his arrested friend, Puneet, will go through a polygraph test. It was informed by an official of the Shimla Police on Tuesday.

After local police remained clueless in the case, a plea was submitted to a court seeking permission to conduct polygraph test on the suspect. The court has granted permission, the official informed.

The family of the missing youth is now raising questions over the investigation. They expressed a possibility that police could be working under some kind of pressure.

After 11 days of Shubham’s disappearance, the district police has revealed new details, which are obtained by questioning the suspect. Following the dissatisfaction expressed by the family, the SP has announced formation of a Special Investigation Team to investigate the case. The district police has already announced reward for anyone who would provide information related to Shubham.

As per the statement by the Superintendent of Police, Shimla, Ompati Jamwal, search operations are being conducted under the supervision of the DSP, Theog.  Daily 25-40 police personnel have been searching the area from where Shubham had gone missing. He also said that dog squad and drones were being used in the search operation.

Shubham had left with his friends to attend a car rally. His friend, Puneet had asked Shubham to photograph him during the rally. They were returning to Jubbal from Deha when Subham went missing.

“According to the version given by Puneet (to the police), along with 15 other youth, they had stayed at some house and had consumed liquor. After they left the house, Puneet stopped the vehicle (Gypsy) somewhere in Deha as Subham said he wanted to vomit. Subham got out of the car,”

SP Jamwal told media.

“Puneet said he fell asleep, and when he woke up, Shubham had not returned,”

Jamwal said. However, Jamwal said this information is based only on initial investigation and claims of the suspect were yet to be confirmed.

Father of Shubham, Krishan Chand, has expressed suspicion on Puneet. On Monday, the disheartened father of the missing youth held a press conference in Shimla where he burst into tears.

“I am sure that Puneet is behind all this, and he knows about my son,”

the father told media.

“The entire area is a jungle. For the last 10 days, over 100 people along with 60-70 locals from Deha village have been searching the area. We did not find anything. Still, the police is only searching the same area every day,”

the father said.

“I request the government to find my son. No matter in what condition, but find him soon,”

he said.

The SP hoped that a polygraph test would help crack the case. The test could be conducted within this week.

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Misc News/Press Release

Snowfall, Rain Predicted in Himachal, Yellow Warning Issued for 12, 13 Dec

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Snowfall in shimla and kullu manali in december 2019

Shimla– At least seven districts of Himachal Pradesh are likely to witnesses snowfall and rain till 16 December 2019.  The Himachal Pradesh Meteorological Department, Shimla, has issued a yellow-coded weather warning for 12 and 13 December. The warning is issued for Mandi, Shimla, Kullu, Sirmaur, Kinnaur and Lahaul-Spiti districts.

Rain and thundershowers are predicted at most places in the plains and rain/snow in Middle Hills on 12 December. For Higher Hills, the Met predicts rain/snow in most places.

On 13 December, widespread rain/snowfall is predicted in Middle and Higher Hills. Plains are likely to receive widespread rain.

snowfall in shimla and kullu in december 2019

Source: HP Met

Further, Met dept. predicts rain/snow in Middle and Higher Hills at isolated places from 14-16 December. The weather is likely to remain dry on 15 and 16 December in the plains.

Following the prediction of the Met Department, District Administration, Shimla, has issued an advisory requesting trekkers and locals to avoid going to higher reaches of the district on 12 and 13 December. The administration said Narkanda, Kharapathar, Kufri could receive snow on the said dates.

The district administration said it is prepared to keep roads open in case of snow.

The temperature is likely to drop, intensifying the cold condition across the state.

It is important to note that Rohtang Pass remains closed to traffic and locals are left to cross the pass on foot. The locals complained that the only link between Lahaul-Spiti and Kullu in winters is the Rohtang Tunnel, which is non-functional, and no helicopter flights are being provided.

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