In the wake of sharp rise in drug-related cases reported in Kerala, the Left government on Thursday launched a one-month-long ”No-to-Drugs” awareness campaign with Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan saying the objective of the drive was to make the state free of destructive contrabands.
Urging people from all walks of life to join hands with the government in the drive, the CM said not even a second can be wasted in the fight against the deadly substance as the terrible harm it causes to the society was beyond description.
Narcotic substances not only take a toll on individuals but also families and social relationships besides affecting the country, he said adding that it was the source of the most heinous crimes which were beyond anyone’s imagination.
As the Chief Minister is abroad as part of his European tour, his speech, inaugurating the one-month-long campaign, was telecast on the KITE- VICTERS, the state-owned educational channel, and screened in educational institutions in the southern state.
Vijayan said more than a CM, he would like to talk to the children as their grandfather and as a brother to their parents.
”The objective is to make Kerala a drug-free state. We have to win this battle anyway. Many would consider it impossible. But, we will make it happen,” he asserted.
Stressing the significance of the drive, Vijayan said it was not easy for those who are fully under the influence of narcotics to come back to normal life, as its consumption would lead to the complete destruction of individuals most of the time.
”The government has launched extensive awareness campaign in this backdrop. It’s main objective is to keep our children and youth away from the clutches of drugs and to free any of those who have already fallen under its evil influence.” Describing the new drive as a multi-prong action plan, he said several anti-drug campaigns are already in place in the state and it would be further strengthened under the new drive.
Anti-drug committees have been set up in all local self-government departments and wards, he said detailing various steps being implemented as part of the programme.
A total of 19,391 such panels have been set up across the state with socio-cultural activists, ASHA workers, Kudumbashree volunteers among others as members.
Seeking to check the inflow of synthetic drugs, changes would be made in the existing method of investigation and registration of cases.
To ensure maximum punishment to those who fall under the Section 31 and 31-A of the NDPS Act, their previous offences would also be included in the charge sheet, Vijayan said adding that a data base of habitual drug offenders would be prepared on the lines of Kerala Anti-Social Activities (Prevention) Act register.
Steps would also be taken to keep those who repeat narcotic offences under the preventive detention, the Chief Minister detailed.
A culture that sees drug manufacturers, distributors and sellers as anti-nationals and anti-social forces should be evolved in the state, he added.
In light of the new methods being devised for addiction, the Chief Minister said public participation was essential to tackle the menace.
He also appealed to the religious organisations, socio-cultural outfits, students, youths, residents associations, local clubs, Kudumbashree activists and actors besides political parties to be part of the massive campaign.
”This is not the fight of the government alone. This is the collective struggle of this land and the society.. a struggle for existence and survival.. a fight to save our youngsters and the coming generations,” the Chief Minister stressed.
Though the campaign was scheduled to begin on October 2, the Gandhi Jayanthi Day, it was postponed due to the demise of senior CPI(M) leader Kodiyeri Balakrishnan.