The fund collected by the excise department by charging a cess of two percent on liquor is meant to be used for rehabilitation programmes and it should be mandatorily used for the same. This was stated by the SCPCR chief Usha Negi in response to the additional commissioner of excise department statement that the department collects the fund but does not have the information on how the funds are spent by the State administration.
A meeting headed by the chairperson of State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (SCPCR) Usha Negi, in coordination with various departments of State, was conducted on Wednesday to discuss the increasing substance abuse among adolescents and how to provide them treatment and rehabilitation facilities.
The police department revealed in the meeting that the police have confiscated drugs to the tune of `30 crore in the last three years and have arrested over 1000 culprits in such matters but despite such measures, cases that include school children and poor children continue to increase in the State. Moreover, the additional superintendent of police, Mamta Bohra, recommended appointing nodal officers in every department to facilitate the treatment and rehabilitation of minors affected by substance abuse. Further, Hemendra Singh from the anti-drug cell stated that anti-drug cells were also being established in several schools but Covid-19 pandemic hindered the process but the anti-drug cells will be set up again after all the schools reopen in the State.
It was also discussed in the meeting that since substance abuse is increasing among the students of several educational institutes in the State, students should go under a blood test every six months and those found to be addicted must be given counselling while maintaining the secrecy. Negi also instructed to form child protection committees from district Panchayat level to Gram Panchayat level to enable the representatives of such areas to tackle substance abuse efficiently. Besides, the secretary of Uttarakhand Child Protection Committee, Yogendra Yadav stated that a list of vacant government schools will be prepared in order to convert them into rehabilitation centres. He further added that a similar meeting in coordination with all the departments must be held every three months to discuss the issues and progress in the matter. Meanwhile, the social welfare department also disclosed that they will soon send a proposal to the State Government to set up a prohibition cell for the proper allocation of two percent cess collected by the excise department.