Notwithstanding with the current scenario of drinking at open places, gambling and drug use, two panchayats in Kullu district of Himachal Pradesh has come together to end these menaces.

The decision to ban such activities was taken in the Gram Sabha meetings and in collaboration with Kullu Police’s campaign ‘Sahbhagita – Hamari aur Apki’.
Kullu Superintendent of Police Shalini Agnihotri said they had launched an intensive campaign against drugs in the district and under which they are reaching out to each and every village of the district to encourage people to abstain from such activities.

“Diyar Panchayat of Kullu district has unanimously banned at open places, gambling and drug use,” she said, adding, the panchayat has also decided to impose a fine of Rs 25,000 on defaulters.

While Manikaran panchayat has banned Nepalese nationals from going into forest areas as the locals suspect that they indulge in cannabis plantation activities, she said.

Sources said migrant labourers from Nepal who are engaged in trekking and farming activities in hostile and harsh terrain of the district, are generally hired by drug smugglers to grow cannabis on high hills.

The Manikaran panchayat has also made it mandatory for employers to register Nepalese workers and a worker’s owner would be held responsible if they are found indulging in any illegal activity.

In addition, the Police has now decided to erect barricades at key points and people coming out from forest land would be thoroughly checked from mid-July onwards.

Agnihotri said the ‘Sehbhagita – Hamari aur Apki’ programme is a community-police interface especially aimed at curbing drug trade for which the district has become worldwide.

The intensive drug eradication campaign is resulting in locals abstaining from cannabis plantation on private land.

There were reports that the drug smugglers have shifted to forest land on higher reaches in district and Kullu Police is now seeking the cooperation of the Forest department to curb the trend.

The police officials are also taking the help of Narcotics Control Bureau Chandigarh in tracking cannabis plantation in the district.

The NCB is providing us with satellite imagery of cannabis plantation and it is helping us in checking the growth in the wild.

Kullu Police had also launched a drive against cannabis plantation and had started attaching the properties of the accused engaged in such activities.

The drive had brought about a significant change in the present as the traditional cannabis growers are abstaining from such activites and a decline of 5 per cent had been registered in recent years.

The police officials have roped in various NGOs, mahila mandals, yuva mandal, rangers and rovers to start a social participation programme and isolate people who engage in drug related activities.

So far, around 4,000 people had joined the police’s campaign and they are striving end drug menace in their respective areas, Agnihotri added.