India News

Northern states, Chandigarh join hands to fight drug menace

Chandigarh
A majority of northern states on Monday decided to set up a joint secretariat at Panchkula for data and information sharing to effectively fight the drug menace.

The decision was taken here at a conference of the northern states’ chief ministers, convened to evolve and formulate a joint strategy to fight the malady, said an official spokesperson of the Punjab government.

The conference was attended by Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar and Uttarakhand CM T S Rawat with their Himachal Pradesh counterpart Jai Ram Thakur participating in it through video conference as he was unable to come here due to bad weather.

The meet, ‘Regional Conference on Drugs Challenges & Strategies’, was also attended by senior civil and police officers from these states, besides those of Rajasthan, Delhi and the union territory of Chandigarh.

Seeking to invite the Uttar Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir governments too to join the anti-drug fight, the conference envisaged having a nodal officer from each of the northern states at the joint secretariat at Panchkula to coordinate and facilitate the data sharing process.

The conference envisaged holding regular meets at different levels, including a quarterly one of state chief secretaries or police chiefs and a half-yearly one of the chief ministers to monitor the progress in the anti-drug fight and upgrade its strategy against the malady, the spokesperson said.

He said the meet mandated the SSPs of the adjoining districts of the states to coordinate their anti-drug actions on a day to day basis.

Launching major awareness campaigns among school students, engaging village youths in sports and other physical activities and helping them upgrade their skills were proposed to be the other initiatives of the states to insulate youths from the drug menace, the spokesperson said.

During the meeting, the Punjab Chief Minister mooted a slew of ideas, including evolution of a “Regional Cooperative Framework” of the northern states to institutionalise the inter-state and inter-agency coordination to deal with the menace, he said.

The framework would be aimed at achieving effective coordination and sharing of information and intelligence to undertake joint operations against the drug peddlers and smugglers, he said.

Suggesting that all the affected states approach the Centre for funds for drug prevention, Amarinder Singh also sought deputation of nodal officers from various central agencies like the BSF, DRI, NCB, RPF, CISF and Customs at the states’ joint secretariat at Panchkula as a necessary measure for closer coordination in the anti-drug fight.