HP votes amendment to NDPA Act, MLAs says exclude 'cannabis'
Faced with menace of increased drug abuse among youths , Himachal Pradesh Assembly today voted an amendment in the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act 1985 making the provisions more stringent for persons allegedly involved in the drug trafficking , funding and harbouring drug peddlers.
"Any person ,who is found in possession of the drugs ,irrespective of its quantity, and involved in the illegal trafficking will not be able to get bail, once the amendment becomes the part of the Act" Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur,who piloted NDPS (Himachal Pradesh amendment ) Bill 2018 in the Assembly, currently in session at Dharamshala.
He justified the amendment inview of sharp rise in the cases of drug abuse among youths, deaths due to drug overdose and illegal smuggling of the drugs in the state ,which was a serious cause of the concern for the government,and society .
Interestingly ,before the bill was voted by the House, some opposition Congress and ruling party MLAs were not in complete agreement with the government for including cannabis (bhang) –which is source of drugs like Charas ,in the list of narcotic drugs .They ,instead came-out with suggestions ,to set-up a House committee,to take-out cannabis from the types of drugs to the covered under the bill.
Their demand come close to the heels of Congress MLA Sunder Singh Thakur (Kullu )'s action of moving a private members resolution in the House,on Thursday to seek legalisation of the cannabis cultivation in the state,mainly referring to Kullu ,and few other districts terming it as part of a tradition in those areas .
Kullu has already become infamous for charas and smuggling of drugs to international markets ,because many people have adopted cannabis
cultivation a viable source
of income .
Quoting example of Punjab ,where the government had proposed death sentence for the drug mafia , Congress MLA and PCC president Sukhwinder Sukhu said most of the drug peddlers active in Punjab has now shifted their illegal operations in Himachal Pradesh . They are targeting innocent youths .
He also backed the demand for legalizing cannabis cultivation like Germany and Canada. Ramesh Dhawala ,BJP MLA also demanded that cannabis be excluded .
"As you know there are some saints,babas and few saints ,who use cannabis and its products as part of their life style and regular consumptions, will become easy targets of police "said Congress MLA Ram Lal Thakur.
The government, he suggested ,should primarily target to deal with problem of "chitta" –a refined form of heroin ,for its sudden rise in abuse by the youths as had been happening in Punjab .
The Bill will require President of India's assent to become law.
Chief Minister assured that beside legislative measures ,the government will initiative other steps to deal with problem of drug abuse and drug mafia.