Social media and traditional media have been very vocal about the recent controversy over Bollywood film, “Udta Punjab” which highlights the issue of drug addiction in Punjab. Given that the drug problem in Punjab is important, what media doesn’t show is the efforts done by the state government to counter this painstaking issue once and for all. Main features of government efforts have been the counselling service from qualified psychiatrists, de-addiction centers for addicts, yoga therapy, etc. Red Cross has also opened its state branch which has been supporting state government’s efforts. Another feature has been the family counselling provided to impress upon on the need of family support in battling drug addiction. Private de-addiction centers and NGOs have been doing their part of the job along with the government to raise awareness against drug abuse and addiction.
The extent of this problem has been quantified by a recent study done by National Drug Dependence Treatment Centre (NDDTC) at AIIMS. According to the study, there are 123,000 heroin-consuming people among the population of 27.7 million. Around 7,500 crore Rs. worth of opioids has been consumed every year in Punjab. The state government has also taken the problem at utmost priority and in recent years have made large strides in combating drug menace by arresting the big time drug peddlers, small drug offenders, and typical addicts.
Narco-terrorism is another feature that has entered this region. Groups from neighbouring countries have been trying to spread this drug epidemic in Punjab to make youth into addicts. Punjab lies in proximity to nations like Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran, which produces and sells largest amount of heroin in the world. The state government has been working with Central government and security forces to fight this new type of terrorism. They are also trying to contain this problem from propagating deeper in India.
All these efforts have been subsided by political parties like AAP and Congress, which are busy scoring political points against the ruling SAD government. In this complete lack of responsibility, both opposition parties have been showing Punjabi youth in a bad light. They also have ruined Punjab’s image. In this hour of need, both parties have forgotten their role and responsibility in their pursuit to make electoral gains.
It’s now up to the electorates of Punjab to decide what they want to choose – a government fighting or a government which maligned the very state it wanted to rule.