HM Shah directs creation of call centre, canine squad, task forces to check narcotics abuse


NEW DELHI: Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Monday chaired a meeting of the national coordination centre on narcotics and directed the creation of a pan-India portal, a canine unit, free call centre and specialised task forces in states to curb the menace of drugs, according to an official statement.

The minister reviewed the drugs abuse scenario and the mechanism to counter it in the country during the third apex-level meeting of the narcotics coordination mechanism NCORD, which has a theme of eradicating drugs from the country with the objective of ‘nasha-mukt Bharat abhiyan’ or drugs-free India movement.

The meeting was organised by the federal anti-narcotics agency, Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), and it was attended by the secretaries and police chiefs of various states and the Centre.

“As per survey reports, the number of drug abusers has increased approximately 7 folds in the last two decades, which is alarming.

“To protect, especially our children and youth, the home minister emphasised that there is a need to create awareness against drugs and its ill-effects from a young age by incorporating it in academic curriculum,” the statement said.

Shah “reviewed the prevailing drug trafficking and abuse scenario in the country and expressed his concerns over its emergence as national threat.”

“He stressed upon the need for close coordination between the states and central government agencies to tackle this problem that transcends boundaries. The minister underscored the importance of organising NCORD meetings regularly at all the levels with participation of senior officers,” the statement said.

For strengthening the coordination mechanism, the minister asked all states to form and notify a dedicated anti-narcotics task force (ANTF) which can also function as the NCORD secretariat at the state level, the statement said.

The minister also directed the agencies “to take some important measures such as creation of a national NCORD portal, constitution of inter-ministerial standing committees (IMCs) to devise effective policies with regard to dual use prescription drugs and precursors, raising of a national narco canine pool, and establishment of drug de-addiction centres in all prisons of 272 most affected districts, etc.”

The minister said the Union government will also create a 24×7 toll free national narcotics call centre where the public can share inputs and information on drug matters.

Shah directed the NCB to build capacity of various drug law enforcement agencies like the police, paramilitary forces, public prosecutors and employees of civil departments “at national level on various areas of narcotics control.”

The minister also “expressed concern over increasing drug trafficking through maritime route which has become an emerging challenge on coastal front of the country and emphasised on involvement of all stakeholders in the state NCORD meetings especially of coastal states and suggested extending the mandate of existing joint coordination committee under the NCB.” (PTI)