High on rhetoric: on Punjab’s drug menace

 High on rhetoric: on Punjab’s drug menace

 

Punjab’s drug menace demands an all-out war that goes beyond empty gestures

It has taken Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh over a year and a half to launch his much-anticipated(अनुमानित ) war on drugs. This he did on July 4 by ordering mandatory(आदेशात्मक/अनिवार्य) drug tests for all government employees, including(समेत/सहित) the police. While this is welcome, even if belated(विलम्बित), it is a very small and insubstantial(अपरिवर्तनीय/असाध्य ) measure(उपाय) towards curbing(नियंत्रण करना) the pervasive(फैलनेवाला/व्यापक) drug menace(खतरा/आशंका). For someone who promised to wipe out(मिटादेना) drugs from the State within a month of being elected, the conduct(चाल-चलन/व्यवहार)  of annual drug tests on some 3.25 lakh employees is a piece of tokenism. More steps are needed; less missteps(गलत तरीके,।/ठोकर खाना) , too. The decision of the Punjab Cabinet to recommend(सिफारिश करना) the death penalty to drug-peddlers(विक्रेताओं) is an example of the latter. Capital punishment is abhorrent(घिनौना/घृणित ). Given that there is evidence (सबूत/प्रमाण) that suggests it is also no guarantee of deterring(रोक रखना/निवराण करना) crime, this is more of an empty signal. What is required(आवश्यकता/अपेक्षित)   is a comprehensive war on drugs fought on several fronts, including interventions(हस्तक्षेप) in the community to spread(फैलाएँ) ) awareness((जागरुकता ) and foster a culture against the use of drugs. The challenges faced by the State are huge(विशाल/बड़ा). Estimates vary but by some accounts as many as two-thirds of all households in Punjab have a drug addict(नशे का आदी) in their midst(बीच/मध्यस्थिति). Punjab’s prisons(जेलों/कारागार)  are overcrowded(अतिसंवेदनशील/पल्ला झुका हुआ) with drug-users and peddlers, and its streets and farms witness the easy availability(उपलब्धता)  of narcotics and opiates(नशा). Last year the government arrested 18,977 peddlers and treated some two lakh addicts. The sheer extent(निचली सीमा) of the problem suggests it is more than just a few profiteers(मुनाफाखोरों) that have been responsible (उत्तरदायी) for causing(पहुंचाना/कारण होना) this menace or helping to sustain it. Something of this scale(स्तर/परिमाण)  required a wide network, a well-oiled(चिकनी-चुपड़ी/खुशामदपूर्ण) and smoothly run machinery that has the secret support and collaboration(सहभागिता/सहयोग)  of at least a few of those who work in government.

Given the geography, the drugs, whether(चाहे ) it is opium(अफीम ) or heroin, make an easy and assisted(साथ होना/सहायता प्रदान की)entrance into Punjab from the Golden Crescent (Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan), and synthetic(कृत्रिम)  drugs are thought to come in via Himachal Pradesh. That means those guarding Punjab’s 553-km border with Pakistan must take serious steps to plug(नियंत्रण) the inflow(प्रवाह/शाखा) . The Central security forces are obviously beyond(परे) the control(नियंत्रण ) of Amarinder Singh. Therefore, security-planners in New Delhi have to make sure that the border is properly(उचित रूप से) barred(बाधित/बंद)  to the flow of narcotic(नशीले पदार्थों/नशा) substances. This is a national problem as a substantial portion of the drugs that land in Punjab make their way to the rest of the country. Given the links between drugs and terror, this poses a national security threat(खतरा/आशंका). Then there are the politicians. The previous Akali Dal-BJP alliance(संधि) had also promised to drain Punjab’s vast drug swamp(दलदल). The political class has a critical(महत्वपूर्ण/नाजुक) role to play in winning the war on drugs. It is not enough that politicians merely(सादे तौर पर)  line up to have themselves(अपने) tested for drugs to win political brownie points. They need to put the State and the nation above self-serving political ends and agree that this battle(लड़ाई) must be fought in concrete(ठोस) ways, going beyond photo-ops and sound-bites.

 

 

Important Vocabulary

1.Insubstantial(अपरिवर्तनीय/असाध्य ) 

Synonyms: fanciful, flimsy, illusory, puny, tenuous

Antonyms: genuine, real, serious, strong, substantial

2.Pervasive(फैलनेवाला/व्यापक) 

Synonyms: common, inescapable, omnipresent, prevalent, rife

Antonyms: rare, scarce, uncommon, light, limited

3.Deterring(रोक रखना/निवराण करना)

Synonyms: discouraging, hampering, impeding, deterrent

4.Collaboration(सहभागिता/सहयोग)

Synonyms: association, collusion, combination, concert, participation

Antonyms: disunion, division, separation, noncooperation

5.Abhorrent(घिनौना/घृणित )

Synonyms: despicable, loathsome, repulsive, detestable, execrable

6.Plug(नियंत्रण)

Synonyms: bung, connection, cork, filling, fitting

Antonyms: , mouth, opening

7.Swamp(दलदल)

Synonyms: bog, marshland, morass, mud, quagmire

8.Merely(सादे तौर पर)  

Synonyms: hardly, only, purely, simply, solely

Antonyms: indefinitely

9.Concrete(ठोस) 

Synonyms: detailed, material, objective, particular, real

Antonyms: general, indefinite, unimportant, abstract, bending

10.Awareness((जागरुकता ) 

Synonyms: alertness, appreciation, attention, consciousness, experience

Antonyms: disregard, ignorance, neglect, misunderstanding, unfamiliarity

 

 

 

Credit To The Hindu News Paper

It has taken Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh over a year and a half to launch his much-anticipated war on drugs. This he did on July 4 by ordering mandatory drug tests for all government employees, including the police. While this is welcome, even if belated, it is a very small and insubstantial measure towards curbing the pervasive drug menace. For someone who promised to wipe out drugs from the State within a month of being elected, the conduct of annual drug tests on some 3.25 lakh employees is a piece of tokenism. More steps are needed; less missteps, too. The decision of the Punjab Cabinet to recommend the death penalty to drug-peddlers is an example of the latter. Capital punishment is abhorrent. Given that there is evidence that suggests it is also no guarantee of deterring crime, this is more of an empty signal. What is required is a comprehensive war on drugs fought on several fronts, including interventions in the community to spread awareness and foster a culture against the use of drugs. The challenges faced by the State are huge. Estimates vary but by some accounts as many as two-thirds of all households in Punjab have a drug addict in their midst. Punjab’s prisons are overcrowded with drug-users and peddlers, and its streets and farms witness the easy availability of narcotics and opiates. Last year the government arrested 18,977 peddlers and treated some two lakh addicts. The sheer extent of the problem suggests it is more than just a few profiteers that have been responsible for causing this menace or helping to sustain it. Something of this scale required a wide network, a well-oiled and smoothly run machinery that has the secret support and collaboration of at least a few of those who work in government.

Given the geography, the drugs, whether it is opium or heroin, make an easy and assisted entrance into Punjab from the Golden Crescent (Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan), and synthetic drugs are thought to come in via Himachal Pradesh. That means those guarding Punjab’s 553-km border with Pakistan must take serious steps to plug the inflow. The Central security forces are obviously beyond the control of Amarinder Singh. Therefore, security-planners in New Delhi have to make sure that the border is properly barred to the flow of narcotic substances. This is a national problem as a substantial portion of the drugs that land in Punjab make their way to the rest of the country. Given the links between drugs and terror, this poses a national security threat. Then there are the politicians. The previous Akali Dal-BJP alliance had also promised to drain Punjab’s vast drug swamp. The political class has a critical role to play in winning the war on drugs. It is not enough that politicians merely line up to have themselves tested for drugs to win political brownie points. They need to put the State and the nation above self-serving political ends and agree that this battle must be fought in concrete ways, going beyond photo-ops and sound-bites.

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