The Karnataka government has ordered the formation of anti-drug trafficking committees in all educational institutions across the state within a period of one week.
Deputy CM G Parameshwara, who also holds the Home portfolio, took the decision after meeting senior policemen from across the state on Thursday in Bengaluru. He has also asked the Education Department to issue a circular in this regard.
The anti-drug committees will be set up in line with the anti-ragging committees, which have been set up to lower incidents of ragging across the country.
In addition to officials of the school or college administration, local police officials and public representatives will also be a part of the drug panel.
Nina Nayak, renowned child rights activist and the former Chairperson of Karnataka State Commission for Protection of Child Rights, has welcomed the move.
She told TNM, â€śThis is a very good idea. It will help in finding out where exactly the sales are taking place and there will be means to counsel children, especially adolescents. It will be easier to find out how the drugs are made accessible.â€ť
â€śThis is a good thing, as long as meetings are held and the committee does not exist merely on paper. The committee can provide help and ensure that the children have a peer support system. The committee should also enforce norms like banning setting up of cigarette shops and bars near schools,â€ť she added.
Thursdayâ€™s announcement comes after Parameshwara spoke
He had said, â€śA special drive has been launched to curb drug menace in the state, especially Bengaluru and Mangaluru. We will not allow Bengaluru to go the Punjab way. Udta Punjab will not happen here,â€ť he said.
The Deputy CM was responding to questions by BJP MLC Lahar Singh on the issue of drug-laced candies being sold near schools. Udta Punjab, a Hindi movie released in 2017, captured the drug crisis in Punjab.
In a separate debate in the state Assembly, he had said that drug peddlers will be booked under the state Goonda Act and urged the Centre to make a law awarding death penalty for drug traffickers.
The number of drug trafficking cases registered by the state police almost doubled from 2016 to 2017. In 2016, 653 cases were reported under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, while the number went up to 1122 in 2017.
In June, on the occasion of International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, the Karnataka government had also launched a state government helpline (1098) to report drug abuse.