By Our Staff Reporter
IMPHAL, Jul 15: A one day consultation meet on framing standard operating guidelines (SOG) of private de-addiction centres was held today at the City Convention Centre today under the aegis of Social Welfare Department.
The meeting was attended by NGOs which are running private de-addiction centres, CSOs working against drug abuse and other stakeholders.
Giving key-note address of the meeting, Social Welfare Director Ngangom Uttam said that framing guidelines for opening and monitoring private de-addiction centres is a popular demand.
There is a provision on this matter in the Manipur State Policy on Psychoactive Substances 2019 but there is no SOG as yet. As such, the State Cabinet adopted a decision to follow the SOG drawn up by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Uttam said.
In the meantime, some people even filed petitions at the Manipur Human Rights Commission (MHRC) and the High Court of Manipur seeking formulation of the State’s own SOG, he said.
As the State could not draw up any SOG, the High Court of Manipur registered a contempt case and directed the State Government to formulate an appropriate SOG within three months.
The State Government petitioned the High Court to give six months but the High Court gave only 45 days, the Social Welfare Director said.
“That was why, we convened today’s consultation meet to frame the SOG when there is still 40 days time”, he said.
A drafting committee was already constituted and the committee had held meetings two/three times.
The drafting committee formulated two SOGs namely; guidelines for setting up private drug treatment centres in Manipur and minimum standard of care and service for private drug treatment centres, he said.
The guidelines would be examined by a core committee constituted by the Government after they are finalised by the drafting committee. In the next step, the finalised guidelines would be published in the State gazette, Uttam elaborated.
He then appealed to the gathering to examine and finalise the draft SOG.
Even if there are points to be added or omitted from the draft SOG, the same can be done later, he said.
Many of the NGOs running de-addiction centres seemed determined not to follow the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment’s SOG as far as possible but none of the NGOs has submitted any written complaint to the department which points out incompatibility of the ministry’s SOG with the State’s conditions, he continued.
Manipur University, Psychology, HoD Prof MC Arun chaired the discussion session of the consultation meet where different stakeholders shared their ideas and opinions.