Student bodies suggest
IMPHAL, Sep 14: While appreciating the State Government for drafting the Manipur State Policy on Substance Use, 2019, six student bodies viz; AMSU, MSF, DESAM, KSA, SUK and AIMS have expressed strong indignation against the lack of seriousness on the issue of supply reduction.
It is a matter of great shame that even during the COVID-19 lockdown, there were reports of major drug haul originating from Manipur.
In a representation submitted to the Principal Secretary (Social Welfare), the student bodies laid down several suggestions to be reflected in the drug policy.
The present draft policy, in article 11.1 to 11.10 dealing with prevention strategy, is conspicuous by the exclusion of active student unions and associations of Manipur. This should be rectified forthwith, as no drug policy would succeed without active involvement of these key stakeholders.
Every private as well as Government schools, colleges and universities should have counselling units, it should be mandatory and not optional as reflected in article 11.7 of the present draft.
The proposed “Boarding /Hotel Regulation and Registration Act” that the student bodies have been demanding should also address the issue of substance use by ensuring that the administration provides adequate access to confidential counselling facilities of the inmates who have been initiated into substance use.
In line with sections 46 (duty of land owner to inform the authority of illegal poppy cultivation) and 47 (duty of certain officers to inform the authority) under NDPS Act, 1985, the drug policy should fix responsibility on the head of the educational institution/boarding facilities to inform the authority concerned if the students/wards/inmates under their custody have initiated substance use.
In dealing with preventive measures, human rights of the children and young persons should be safeguarded in the best interest of the child in line with the United Nations Convention on Rights of the Child, 1989 and in no circumstances should their right to education be denied, said the student bodies.