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35 de-addiction and rehabilitation centres in Punjab without license

Ranjeet Jamwal | Chandigarh |

As many as 35 drug de-addiction and rehabilitation centres in Punjab were functioning without licenses and another five, set up at a cost of Rs.6.93 crore, were not functional
for want of staff and essential equipment.

According to the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report tabled in the state Assembly on Wednesday, excessive expenditure of Rs.2.40 crore was incurred on purchase of medicines.

The report said in order to identify and provide treatment and aftercare to substance users, Punjab government in January 2011 framed the 'Punjab Substance Use Disorder Treatment and Counselling and Rehabilitation Centres Rules'.

The government then set up four Model Drug De-addiction Centres (MDDC) and 31 Drug De-addiction Centres (DDC) during September 2007 to July 2015.

The state government also set up 22 rehabilitation centres (RC), one in each of 22 districts, to provide comprehensive rehabilitation to the affected persons, it said.

"Audit observed that 35 centres were functioning without obtaining license/non-renewal of license as on August 2016 in contravention of the rules. The department concerned attributed (Jul 2016) the reasons for non-issue of licenses to non-receipt of inspection reports from civil surgeons and non-receipt of applications," the report said.

"The reply was not tenable as eight functional MDDCs/ DDCs/RCs which had applied for licenses between September 2012 and April 2016 had not been issued licenses even after the delay of five months to four years," it added.

Five drug de-addiction and rehabilitation centres were not functional due to non-availability if psychiatrist or medical officer, other staff and essential equipment including oxygen cylinder and suction machine.

Test-check of records in the selected districts showed that against 1,75,108 drug addiction patients registered in OPD, only 11,186 patients were taken to Indoor Patient Department (IPD) during 2013-16, while the percentage of unutilised bed capacity in these centres ranged between 17 and 60 per cent during the same period, the CAG
report said.

In four districts, only 984 out of 2,658 registered drug addicts were detoxified. Only 23 to 28 per cent of detoxified addicts were admitted to rehabilitation centers of  four test-checked districts.