Himachal sees drive against cannabis, opium cultivation

Shimla, June 17: The interiors of Himachal Pradesh, especially in the Kullu Valley infamous for cannabis and opium cultivation, have seen special drives by making officials and elected representatives at the grassroots accountable, the government said on Sunday. The number of cases under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act in the state has multiplied three times in a decade. All revenue officials, forest officials and elected representatives of Panchayati Raj bodies are duty bound under Section 47 of the NDPS Act to inform the police about the illegal cultivation of cannabis and opium-poppy in their respective area of jurisdiction, Director General of Police S.R. Mardi said. They will give the information in writing to the Station House Officer concerned and also to the Superintendent of Police.

The forest officials are also duty bound to report its illegal cultivation to the police, he said in a statement. Once illegal cultivation is detected, a joint campaign will be launched to destroy such cultivation by involving all stakeholders and enforcement agencies like police. The drive, launched on April 15, will be carried by end of this month. The narcotics trade is assuming horrific shape in Kullu where a large numbers of tourists, mostly Israelis, pour in every year.
The Agriculture and Horticulture Departments in coordination with the Rural Development Department will jointly submit a proposal to adopt alternative cash crops suitable for areas cultivating opium and cannabis illegally. The sensitising school students is also part of the ongoing campaign. During parent-teacher meetings, parents will also be sensitised against drug abuse. (IANS)