Kerala to step up fight against drugs

Thiruvananthapuram, June 26 (IANS) With International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking being observed on Friday, the Kerala government vowed to ensure that educational institutions in the state are kept drug-free.

Newly appointed Kerala police chief T.P. Senkumar said that steps have been taken to strengthen district narcotic cells.

“Special training will be provided to the officials in this department to tackle cases and like the newly formed protection groups in schools, we will soon begin such groups in colleges and professional colleges,” said Senkumar.

“Those people who are involved in sales of these items will be effectively dealt with. Informers’ names will be kept secret and they will also be rewarded.”

“The ‘Clean Campus Safe Campus’ programme led by the home department has been conducting regular raids around schools to check the sale of tobacco and other addictive substances. From May 30, 2014 to June 24, 2015 over 36,000 raids have been conducted,” said the police chief.

State Excise Minister K. Babu told IANS that it was only after the present Oommen Chandy government assumed office in 2011 that the anti-narcotic day started being observed in the state.

“Starting this year, the day will be recognised as a dry day in the state with no liquor available either from retail stores or in five-star bars.”

“We have requested the Centre to see that rules are amended to make possession of drugs even in small quantities a non-bailable offence,” said Babu.

Babu also chairs the “Subhodam” project, a campaign to help people in the state overcome alcohol, drug and other substance abuse.

“The campaign aims to free one lakh people from drug and alcohol addiction each year. ‘Subodham’ is the first step towards ‘Punarjani 2030 Project’, a state government initiative to completely eradicate the menace of substance abuse in Kerala,” added Babu.

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