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Drug/substance abuse tightens grip on Himachal’s adolescents for lack of professional help at institutes

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International drugs day in himachal pradesh

Shimla: Today, to observe the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, the Himachal Pradesh Police Department organized an awareness rally that was flagged of by the Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur from the Ridge Maidan.

As part of a Special Task Force, three State Narcotics Crime Control Units at Shimla, Kangra and Kullu have been set up to deal with drug mafia, informed the Chief Minister.

Over 2000 students from 29 schools of Shimla town, NGOs, students of ITI and Nursing Colleges participated in the awareness rally.

There is hardly any day when the Himachal Pradesh Police does not file FIRs under the ND&PS Act.

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. 

Earlier on June 20, 2018, two minors including the son of ex-MLA Bambar Thakur along with two others were arrested with 498 gram of charas. The accused were using a luxury car registered in the name of the MLA.

This particular case throws apt light on the rate of youth being indulged in drug abuse. To worsen the situation, Chitta is becoming the latest addition to the list of substances that are abused by youth.

It is unfortunate that about 27 per cent youth in the State are involved in drug abuse,

the Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur had told media a couple of days ago at the Marathon Run for Drugs.

However, in 2016, the rate was reported to be around 40 per cent by a study titled “Prevalence and pattern of substance abuse in Himachal Pradesh” by various departments of Indira Gandhi Medical College (IGMC).

As per the study, 29.3 per cent of youngsters in the state were found to be addicted to cigarette, gutka and khaini while 24.4 per cent were alcoholic. The percentage of those taking cannabis (charas) was alarming at 20.8 per cent while 3.4 per cent of youngsters were found to be addicted to opium.

In the same year, in a reply to a question in the assembly, it was informed that 133 kg of “charas” or cannabis, 10 kg opium, 223 grams heroin, 6.03 kg ganja and 0.004 gm of smack were seized in just three months.

The crime rate under the ND&PS Act was at 7.7 per cent in the State as compared to 2.8 per cent in the country.

In a Block level JCC-cum-Welfare and Crime Review Meeting of the State Police organized on June 15, 2018, it was informed that total 217 cases have been registered under the ND&PS Act and total 112 kg Charas was seized in the current year so far. The statistics about other drugs were not revealed.

Sadly, the percentage of youth is likely to be higher than the current statistics given by the government. What is more alarming is that the number of youth who begun to experiment with these substances/drugs during their school days is likely to be higher if the government or institutes would bother to conduct fresh surveys and studies.

In 2010, on the Day against Drug Abuse, a survey conducted in 2004 on Class XII students of various schools in Shimla, 21 percent of students were under the grip of substance use.

Moreover, the government data is mostly based on the cases reported while a significant percentage goes unreported.  

The students of Class IX, X, XI, and XII are most vulnerable to fall victims to drug abuse,

said Ranjana Sharma – a Shimla-based child psychologist Ranjana Sharma.

Further, another study “Behavioural, Emotional and Physical Health Risks in Adolescent School Children in Shimla-2014,” the drug intake among students was 3.1 per cent, which has definitely higher in 2018.

Another aspect that is being ignored by the government and the policy-makers is the relation of psychological factors like poor mental health, peer pressure etc.

The peer pressure, the increasing academic stress, and complications of the modern world are taking a toll on the students. The private school, which charge hefty fees, are also not recruiting permanent, trained child-counsellors to save money,

Ranjana said.

The adolescence requires committed counsellors who could attend to the factors pertaining to the their mental health. The students who come from an unhealthy domestic environment, face additional challenge of coping with the negative impacts of their psycho-social conditioning. There is plethora of psychological problems that pushes adolescents towards the drug/substance abuse. 

she added.

The government should review the situation of rehabilitation centres in Himachal. In case, the addicted youth wish to reach out to someone for rescue, there isn’t much professional help available.

On the top of that, with the entry of expensive drugs like Chitta, youth are also getting inclined towards anti-social activities like thefts.

Recently, Mandi Police had nabbed a gang that was stealing bikes and selling them in the adjoining areas of the district. When the police busted the gang, the members turned out to be local youths.

Though the Police did not confirm why these youths jumped into stealing bikes, one of the victims of this gang told Himachal Watcher that these youths take to stealing to fulfil their need for money to buy drugs.

Another alarming trend that has been witnessed among the youth is that they are also becoming part-time peddlers in their specific localities. They buy drugs/substances for their own addiction, so it is easier for them to procure additional amount and make easy money.

The government and the State Police is assuring eradication of drug menace through their awareness campaigns and uprooting of cannabis and poppy plants in various parts of the state. The police is now reaching out to the schools to sensitize students about the drastic impact of drug abuse on their lives.

As per the State Police, it has organized 1023 anti-drug campaigns in the State in 2018 to create awareness regarding the menace of drug abuse. The NGOs, Mahila Mandals and representatives of Panchayati Raj Institutions have been urged to come forward to eradicate this social evil from the society.

Meanwhile, the petition in the State High Court has suggested replacing current cannabis species with industrial hemp, which cannot be used for the purpose of intoxication as the amount of the psychoactive substance is very low in it.

Not only the legalisation of hemp cultivation can revolutionize the economy of the state, but it can also help eradicate the menace created by drug mafia, argues the petition.

Himachal’s neighbouring state Uttarakhand has already legalized it and benefitting from it. Over 25,000 eco-friendly products can be manufactured from hemp, the petition says.

The government asserts that collective steps by government, non-government organizations, parents and others were needed to eradicate these social evils.

Alongwith action of law-enforcement agencies, the state also requires professional help at the school level to prevent adolescents from getting trapped by drug/substance use.

Madan has studied English Literature and Journalism from HP University and lives in Shimla. He is an amateur photographer and has been writing on topics ranging from environmental, socio-economic, development programs, education, eco-tourism, eco-friendly lifestyle and to green technologies for over 7 years now. He has an inclination for all things green, wonderful and loves to live in solitude. When not writing, he can be seen wandering, trying to capture world around him in his DSLR lens.

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Parents Burn Fee-Booklet of Shimla’s Private School In Protest, Allege Govt Directions Made No Difference

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Parents Protest outside auckland house school shimla

Shimla-The written directions issued to all private schools running in Himachal Pradesh from the State Directorate of Higher Education on March 18, 2019, to review their unreasonable and hefty fee structures and reduce unnecessary charges has made no impact on any institution.

This is what the parents alleged on March 22, 2019, while protesting outside the Auckland House School in Shimla. The parents shouted slogans against the fleecing of private schools with unreasonable, hefty fees. They burnt a fee-booklet of the Auckland House School in protest.

Parents protest in Shimla against private schools

The parents have staged multiple protests during the last two to three weeks. The Directorate had to issue a fresh notification to private schools after the student-teacher forum gheraoed its office on March 14, 2019.  

The Directorate had asked the schools to cut down their fees to reasonable amounts, stop the sale of books and uniform in schools or pressurizing parents to purchase them from particular shops. The schools were told that they can’t make it mandatory for students to pay charges for tours/picnics. Further, the Directorate had warned schools of stringent action against if they failed to abide by the provisions of the Private Educational Institute (regulatory) Act, 1997, and Right of Children To Fee and Cumpulsory Education Act, 2009.

Directions Issued on 18 March 2019 by Edu Directorate

Fees-of-Private-Schools-in-Himachal-Pradesh

On Friday, however, the forum alleged that despite the notification issued by the Directorate, private schools did not pay any heed to its warning.  The schools still issued fee booklets without reviewing their fee structures.

The convener of the forum, Vijender Mehra, said that these schools not only ignored the notification but also committed contempt of the State High Court.

The forum has now warned the higher officials of the Education Directorate that if they did not ensure compliance to the court orders, FIRs would be filed personally against them.

The co-convener of the forum, Bindu Joshi, said the Directorate issued written directions to these schools only for the sake of formality. The Government is not showing any interest in the implementation of the Private Educational Institute (Regulatory) Act, 19997, and Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009, she said.

The forum is demanding the formation of a regulatory commission to stop the commercialization of education in the State.

The forum said its series of protests would continue until implementation of the directions issued by the Directorate is ensured.

The voices of protests can be heard in Himachal Pradesh time and again. However, it appears the parents, who are financially squeezed by private schools, wants to fight a final battle to make their unrest heard.

A couple of weeks ago, parents protest in Solan district had forced the St. Luke School, to cut down its fees to half. The student-parent forum is urging all parents to unite in the same way to put some check on the arbitrary working of private schools across the State.

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Social Media Platforms Agree to Come up With Code of Ethics, says ECI After a Meeting With Representatives

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Lok sabha elections 2019 and social media platforms

New Delhi-The usage of Social Media ahead of the Lok Sabha Elections 2019 is one of the biggest causes of worry for the Election Commission of India as well as the people. The social media platforms do not have any provisions like the Model Code of Conduct.

The role of social media in helping spread information as well as curbing misinformation cannot be underestimated. There is a desperate need to come up pro-actively with deterrents like some punitive action against users misusing the platform.

Considering this issue of ethics, the Election Commission of India today had an interactive session with representatives of various Social Media Platforms and Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI). The representatives from social media organizations such as Facebook, Whatsapp, Twitter, Google, ShareChat, TikTok and BigoTV attended the meeting.

The Chief Election Commissioner cited Model Code of Conduct as a unique and historic document, which is followed by all political parties /entities from the date of declaration of schedule of elections till the election process is concluded.

Arora said the Social Media Organizations are formidable force-multiplier and asked them to come up with a similar Code for the ongoing election process in the immediate context and a lasting document in the long run.

Election Commissioner Ashok Lavasa pointed out that today’s has been a momentous meeting for the evolution of ‘behaviour’ of Social Media platforms on Social Media.

Voluntary restraint is a hallmark of civilized society and works as effectively as any regulation, he said. He suggested that the management should consider a clear clause on users’ voluntarily agreeing not to misuse social media platforms for election or political purposes.

The need for the appointment of dedicated grievance channel for expeditious action by the organizations, pre-certification, and transparency in the expenditure of political advertisements was also raised in the meeting. The meeting focused on evolving a notification mechanism by social media platforms for acting upon the violations of Section 126 of R.P. Act, 1951 and preventing misuse of these platforms. 

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Manohar Parrikar Was ‘Chief Minister of Commoners’, Says Cabinet condoling his demise

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Manohar Parrikar Condoloscence messages

New Delhi– The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, today condoled the sad demise of Manohar Parrikar, Chief Minister on March 17, 2019, at Panaji, Goa.  The Cabinet observed silence for two minutes in his memory.  Parrikar had been in and out of hospitals since February last year after he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

He was cremated with full state honours at Panjim’s Miramar Beach this evening. He was 64-years-old.

The Cabinet had also approved observing one day of mourning by the Government of India and flying the National Flag at half-mast on March 18, 2019, in all the States/UTs Capitals including Delhi and throughout the State of Goa.

The Cabinet expresses profound sorrow at the sad demise of Shri Manohar Parrikar, Chief Minister of Goa in the evening of 17th March 2019 at Panaji, Goa. In his passing away, the country has lost a veteran and distinguished leader, affectionately called as the Chief Minister of commoners,

said a condolence Resolution of the Cabinet.

The President of India, Ram Nath Kovind, also condoled the passing away of Parrikar.

Extremely sorry to hear of the passing of Shri Manohar Parrikar, Chief Minister of Goa, after an illness borne with fortitude and dignity. An epitome of integrity and dedication in public life, his service to the people of Goa and of India will not be forgotten.

the President said

About Manohar Parrikar


Born on December 13, 1955, at Mapusa, Goa, Parrikar was educated at Loyola School, Margao and later graduated in Metallurgical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai in 1978. Before entering politics, Parrikar had joined the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) at a young age and became a Mukhya Shikshak (Chief Instructor) in the final years of his schooling itself. After graduating from IIT, he resumed RSS work in Mapusa and became a Sanghchalak at the age of 26.

As a member of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Parrikar was elected to the Legislative Assembly of Goa in 1994. He became the Chief Minister of Goa for the first time on 24th October 2000 and continued till 27th February 2002. He was re-elected as Chief Minister on 3rd June 2002 and served till 2nd February 2005.  He became Chief Minister of Goa for the third time on 9th March 2012 and continued till 8th November 2014. On 9th November 2014, Shri Parrikar became Union Minister of Defence and continued till 13th March 2017, he was again sworn in as Chief Minister of Goa on 14th March 2017.

He is credited with the building of modern Goa and to the modernization of India’s Armed Forces as well as improvement to the lives of ex.-Servicemen.

Parrikar was awarded the ‘Distinguished Alumnus Award’ by IIT Mumbai in 2001, Honorary Doctorate by National Institute of Technology, Goa in 2018, and the Dr. S.P. Mukherjee Award in 2018, among others. He is survived by his two sons.

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