Bhubaneswar: As per announcement made by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, the State Government has constituted the Task Force against drug trafficking and drug abuse under the Chairmanship of former DGP Abhay.
The Home Department has issued a resolution for this purpose. The Department said the mandate of the Task Force will be to coordinate, suggest action in drug demand reduction, raise community awareness, increase community participation and public cooperation, focussed intervention in schools, colleges and among youth.
“In Odisha, it is imperative to give a serious push to efforts to contain drug abuse and drug trafficking, so that the emerging problem is nipped in the bud. This can be done by a combination of demand reduction, supply reduction, and harm reduction measures,” read the resolution.
As per the order, there will be a multi-departmental coordination committee headed by the Chief Secretary and co-chaired by the State Task Force’s Chairman. The Task Force will also formulate a State Policy within the context of National Policy on Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic substances 2012.
The Multi Departmental Committee chaired by Chief Secretary will comprise among others by Secretaries of Department of Home, Health and Family Welfare, Social Security & Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities Department (SSEPD), Excise, School and Mass Education, Higher Education, Information and Public Relation and Information Technology.
Chairman can constitute smaller sub-committees of the Task Force to study any aspect in detail and make recommendations. Chairman can also nominate/invite any other state/central govt. official, or expert to any of the subcommittees. Chairman can seek cooperation from agencies of the United Nations System.
The Task Force will coordinate with the relevant agencies/ Ministries of the Central Government, viz. the Narcotics Control Bureau, Ministry Home Affairs, Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Department of Revenue of the Ministry of Finance, Drug Controller General India, Central Bureau of Narcotics and others as relevant, apart from other State Governments as necessary for a comprehensive approach to the problem with a consistent national footprint.
The Task Force will coordinate, suggest policy, and suggest action in raising community awareness, increasing community participation and public cooperation, and identifying dependent populations.
It will emphasize focused intervention in vulnerable sections, outreach to community, schools, colleges, and youth besides treatment Detoxification/De-addiction/Rehabilitation (by community, Government agencies, NGOs, hospitals).
It will conduct the drug abuse survey to collect data about the extent, pattern, geographical spread, and demography of drug abuse. It can conduct Odisha specific study, evaluation and research.
The Task Force will also focus on enforcement or supply reduction activities like the destruction of illicit crops of Ganja/Opium, seizure of drugs/contraband, investigation and prosecution of traffickers, financial investigation for confiscation, and preventive detention under NDPS Act.
Odisha has over the last few years emerged as a major centre for drug trafficking with cannabis grown in erstwhile Maoist-affected areas being trafficked all over the country. As compared to the seizure of 198 quintals of cannabis in 2015, enforcement authorities seized a record 1600 quintals of cannabis in the State in 2021.