Social Problems in Panjab and their Strategic Impact

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sanjaykumar
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Social Problems in Panjab and their Strategic Impact

Postby sanjaykumar » 04 Jan 2016 01:11

Recent events have high-lighted a disturbing state of affairs in Panjab, at least the rural, border districts.

What is self-censored in the Indian media is rampant substance abuse, including drugs and alcohol. This does not exist in isolation. It is enabled by a well developed narcotic infiltration system in collusion with some police and border security agencies. There is widespread suspicion that political figures in Panjab are profiting from youth addiction. Hepatitis, crime, school drop out rates, domestic assault, parenting incompetence are directly consequential in addition to serious impacts on national security.

Because the sensitivity and indeed prickliness of some of the population, paranoid ideation is rampant. Is this a plot by Hindus to destroy Sikhi? These ideas are endemic in these areas along with drugs, money and heptitis C.
Last edited by sanjaykumar on 04 Jan 2016 01:23, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Social Problems in Panjab and their Strategic Impact

Postby Viv S » 04 Jan 2016 01:14

Repost this in the General Discussions sub-forum.
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Re: Social Problems in Panjab and their Strategic Impact

Postby sanjaykumar » 04 Jan 2016 01:15

https://www.quora.com/Who-is-responsibl ... njab-India

http://www.smh.com.au/business/the-drug ... lya8a.html

Outsiders don't want their daughters to marry any local boys, according to the village elders swapping stories in a tailor's shop behind the Sikh temple, because most residents are infected with "black jaundice".
That's what they call hepatitis C, which is so common in parts of India's Punjab state


http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/glut-the ... of-punjab/

73.5% of Punjab's youth is addicted to drugs. A multi million drug nexus operating under the noses of the Border Security Force, The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, The Narcotics Control Bureau and the Intelligence Bureau, leaving them as mere bystanders to Punjab's erosion. The yearly consumption of alcohol in Punjab is touching 29 Crore bottles making it one of the highest per capita consumers of alcohol in the world!


http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/featur ... 12953.html

In December last year, Jagdish Bhola, a suspended deputy superintendent of police accused of drug trafficking, revealed as he was being escorted in handcuffs from a court hearing in Mohali: "I am just a pawn in the hierarchy of drug trade in the state - the real kingpins are politicians."

Bhola is accused of masterminding a huge synthetic drug racket and investigating officers claim his entourage had provided significant levels of campaign funding during Punjab's last state assembly elections.

Based on Bhola's revelations, police arrested a hotelier, Maninder Singh Aulakh - a local treasurer and election organiser for the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal party - and a business associate from neighbouring Himachal Pradesh, Jagjit Singh Chahal, who has also been linked to Akali leaders.

Aulakh is said to be close to senior Akali legislators and allegedly used government vehicles to smuggle the synthetic drugs.

The allegations reinforce those made in 2012 by another drug lord, Raja Kandola, who put politicians - and the Punjabi police themselves - in the dock by accusing them of conniving with drug lords.


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Re: Social Problems in Panjab and their Strategic Impact

Postby sanjaykumar » 04 Jan 2016 01:21

http://alcoholrehab.com/drug-addiction/ ... -epidemic/

Near border areas the rate of heroin abuse among 15 to 25 year olds is as high as 75% – the percentage is 73% in other rural areas throughout the region. A Department of Social Security Development of Women and Children suggested that as many as 67% of rural households in Punjab will have at least one drug addict in the family. There is at least one death due to drug overdose each week in the region.


https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/dr ... story.html


There is also widespread agreement that local politicians and police take a cut of the drug profits. Election officials seized more than 100 pounds of heroin that they said party workers intended to distribute to voters before state elections last January. Giving out alcohol to bribe potential constituents is relatively common in India, but the plan to distribute heroin was unique to Punjab, officials said.

In 2009, a former police narcotics chief from the state capital, Chandigarh, was arrested in Mumbai and charged with selling drugs.

At one rehabilitation center in Punjab, a former drug dealer said he had regularly paid police thousands of dollars to be allowed to operate freely. Another said heroin use was so open in prison that he had started his habit there.

“It’s basically the police who are smuggling half the drugs in the state,” said one man, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to avoid social stigma and trouble with the police. “If they confiscate 100 packets, police show 50 to the press and let the other 50 back into the market.”

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Re: Social Problems in Panjab and their Strategic Impact

Postby ramana » 04 Jan 2016 02:22

sanjaykumar, how much of this is Pak produced drugs and how much local mfg? from ground reports majority is local mfg run by politicians.

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Re: Social Problems in Panjab and their Strategic Impact

Postby SBajwa » 04 Jan 2016 03:28

Raman. It is 100% Bakistani drugs. Opium and it's derivatives like garad, charas, heroin, etc. The more the money the better stuff. I have heard stories of poor people eating opium mixed boot polish.
Last edited by SBajwa on 04 Jan 2016 04:27, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Social Problems in Panjab and their Strategic Impact

Postby SBajwa » 04 Jan 2016 03:29

Cocaine is less than 5%. As it is mostly produced on south America out of reach of dawood.

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Re: Social Problems in Panjab and their Strategic Impact

Postby sanjaykumar » 04 Jan 2016 03:35

It is 100% Bakistani drugs.


If this is so, Pakistanis have dealt India a severe blow. If this isn't terrorism, I don't know what is.

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Re: Social Problems in Panjab and their Strategic Impact

Postby ManSingh » 04 Jan 2016 03:53

I wouldn't agree that 100% of drugs come from across the border. The most common would be the abuse of prescription drugs( and injections etc ) manufactured locally. This is why you see pharmacies in every nook and corner of Punjab :

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/dr ... story.html

Majority of drugs of course are opium, heroin ( called chitta in Punjab ) from across the border. There is also the case for ICE ( methemphatamine ) in punjab manufactured locally. Rumor has it that well known boxer Vijender Singh was also caught acting as a courier but was let off due to political pressure.

http://www.dayafterindia.com/magz_detai ... hp?id=2638

Arjun Award winner who became a drug lord


Tweet


By Hs & danfes

When dismissed Punjab Deputy Superintendent of Police Jagdish Singh Bhola, alleged kingpin of an extensive drug network in North India, along with his four associates was arrested from an eatery on the GT Road near New Delhi many more questions arose than they were answered.
For the record, synthetic drugs worth crores of rupees were also seized from the accused. The discovery has pinpointed the worrisome aspect of drug dealing in Punjab since it is no longer limited to opium and charas as the Punjab Police has uncovered two important supply chains of precursor chemicals (ephedrine and pseudoephedrine) used in manufacture of synthetic drug ICE (M-amphetamine). Fingers are already being pointed to the involvement of big time politicians, notably from the present ruling party. There have been allegations in the past too of political patronage to the smuggling of high value drugs but the Chief Minister and his Deputy Chief Minister son Parkash Singh Badal and Sukhbir Singh Badal have been accusing the BSF and the centre of laxity and claiming that Punjab is suffering drug addiction because of this. But now it is obvious that the state has either failed in policing or has been turning a blind eye if not conniving.
Bhola was the alleged mastermind of the Rs 700-crore synthetic drug racket exposed by the Jalandhar Rural, Fatehgarh Sahib and Patiala district police and had been on the run ever since his Mohali residence was raided on March 3, 2013. The heat of the fallout was also felt by Olympic boxing medalist Vijender Singh.
Vast network
His network, primarily involving synthetic drug “ice”, spanned across Punjab, Haryana, Delhi and other states with supply chain linking Canada, North America and Europe allegedly through more than 50 non-resident Indians (NRIs). Bhola was the alleged brain behind the drug supply chain but the question that begs an answer is that how was he able to run his operation for so long without detection.
Punjab borders have for long been known to be porous because of the political patronage that is extended to those who run the smuggling rackets. Even before modern day drugs arrived, the Gurdaspur and Amritsar borders were known for opium smuggling and many politicians have allegedly made their careers out of these operations. But with the busting of the present operation a much more sinister and sophisticated system has come to light that has brought the functioning of the Drug Controller in the neighboring sate of Himachal Pradesh.
For the record, Bhola was suspended from police service after his name figured in a drug smuggling racket in 2002 and the Narcotics Control Bureau arrested him in 2009. Originally from Bathinda, he was also a Arjuna Award winning wrestler with Bharat Kesri and Rustam-e-Hind titles also under his belt. His vast network included an alleged NRI drug dealer Anoop Singh Kahlon, who too was arrested earlier this year.
Bhola was allegedly instrumental in procuring raw material and preparing drugs in factories set up for the purpose, mostly in Himachal Pradesh. Police sources said Bhola had hired specialists from Vietnam and China (many of whom were NRIs) to package synthetic drugs like ‘ice’ with special wraps to evade detection by sniffer dogs and X-ray scanners at airports and cargo ports. During a search a team of Patiala Police recovered 26 passports, including one British, eight Canadian and 17 Indian, and some machines used in making fake visa and other travel documents.
Lax Drug Controller
According to police, the accused were operating three factories manufacturing precursor chemicals ephedrine and pseudoephedrine which were diverted illegally from the medicine sector to manufacture of the synthetic drug ICE. Jagjit Singh Chahal was manufacturing these precursors in MBP Pharmaceuticals Ltd., Baddi , Montek Bio-Pharma Ltd., Baddi , Tulip Formulations, Damtal, near Pathankot, all in Himachal Pradesh and this has drawn the neighboring state in the scandal.
As a result the Rs 25,000-crore pharmaceutical industry of Himachal Pradesh is undergoing a credibility crisis more so the State Drug Control Authority (SDCA). The State Drug Controller Navneet Marwaha has claimed that a separate investigation is being done in the state but the damage has been done and now whatever steps are taken would be tested only in the future. But the authorities in Himachal Pradesh would do well to probe the industry thoroughly. In the recent past the pharmaceutical industry has been under the scanner because of the discovery of spurious medicines. It needs to investigated if the earlier discovery had anything to do with the synthetic drugs and if the matter was swept under the carpet.
At present the Punjab Police is claiming that its investigations have reveal that Bhola and his associates to date have smuggled drugs worth over Rs 5,000 crore. The active involvement of NRIs and the drug scandal that rocked the Kabaddi championship held by Punjab too is under the scanner. Even then many people had cast aspersions on the kind of people who had begun to enjoy official patronage. In addition the Pakistani link too is being investigated.


Feedback on:-reporter@dayafterindia.com


Besides drugs there are a lot of ways people get a high in Punjab ( not disclosing here ). Most distributors are bigwigs.

But bottom line is that Punjab seems past the point of no return. Drugs are a part of popular culture and a non user would feel left out especially in rural areas.
Last edited by ramana on 04 Jan 2016 04:22, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Added ramana

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Re: Social Problems in Panjab and their Strategic Impact

Postby ManSingh » 04 Jan 2016 03:55

On point of Border security agencies, I hate saying this but I have seen people posted in border areas having properties in major cities way beyond what they could have honestly earned.

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Re: Social Problems in Panjab and their Strategic Impact

Postby Shameek » 04 Jan 2016 04:17

Tribune India Article

Over 3.3 lakh addicts were registered for treatment in various de-addiction centres across Punjab from June 15 to December 15 last year as part of the massive drive against drug abuse. As many as 22,700 jail inmates were also provided treatment, as the police arrested 45,000 persons for narcotic smuggling or possession in 2014 alone.

Deadly drugs like heroin and synthetic tablets have made it into an organised crime, consuming lives, destroying families and damaging the image of a people and a state. Add to that the growing evidence of pharmaceutical opioid abuse where addicts are graduating to injecting formulations with opium-like qualities (hence called opioids). Among pharma opioids are buprenorphine, pentazocine and dextropropyxyphyne. Over-the-counter cough syrups like Corex and Benadryl too are much in demand.

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Re: Social Problems in Panjab and their Strategic Impact

Postby SwamyG » 04 Jan 2016 04:17

If an IT low level worker like me can think of this, the strategists are already thinking about this. If we can think on these lines, "they" are thinking about this for more than a few years now. Right?

viewtopic.php?p=1879384#p1879384
SwamyG wrote:While you are doing mental calisthenics to construe it as an excuse, I see massive effort required to curtail Pakistanis dangerous game. If one points out a tactic of an enemy it does not mean other tactics do not exist or that there should be nothing done for other tactics.
shiv wrote:On similar note we hand the best excuse to our government for remaining in denial: "India suffers more malnutrition deaths and dowry deaths than terrorism deaths due to Pakistan"


SwamyG wrote:The drugs Pakistan peddles in Punjab is as dangerous, if not more, as these attacks.

viewtopic.php?f=3&t=6935&p=1775341&hilit=drugs+punjab#p1775341
SwamyG wrote:As far as the drugs go, it must be easier to push through land no? How is Punjab getting its drugs from? What is happening in Punjab is a drug war-fare conducted by Pakistan.

viewtopic.php?f=3&t=6935&p=1774368&hilit=drugs+punjab#p1774368
SwamyG wrote:Folks anot honest question. Does it make economic sense to smuggle liquor or diesel? I mean these boats are not massive and could ferry only so much quantities. H I weber fake currency, precious stones/metals or drugs or more profitable. I think the entire Punjab is reeling at drug menace sponsored by Pakistan.

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Re: Social Problems in Panjab and their Strategic Impact

Postby SSridhar » 04 Jan 2016 04:24

For long, India has been conveniently used as a conduit for Afghan drugs, refined in Af-Pak area and sent through Indian airports, especially southern, abroad. All these drugs were sent through the Indian Punjab clandestinely and many times with the support of border security forces. The drugs 'leaked' in the Punjab naturally. There should have also been attempts by the ISI to implement a drug policy in the Indian Punjab, no doubt, as it uses every opportunity to weaken India.

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Re: Social Problems in Panjab and their Strategic Impact

Postby SBajwa » 04 Jan 2016 04:33

Mansingh!! (I am 48 years old btw and native of Batala, Gurdaspur). The drugs that you are talking about is what common teenagers do i.e. buying coughing syrupt from many pharmacies and getting high (which is not that significant)., or even if they are drinking alcohol.

The problem is Opium (almost all drugs that are used by psychiatrists are based on opium)., opium in India is grown in UP mostly (under very strict controlled for prescribed drugs or cough medicines) but opium is the major crop in Afghanistan.

This opium is bought by Dawood and then converted to different drugs (0.1 mixed with boot polish,etc is sold to the poorest of the poor while the top grade of Heroin is taken by Delhi/Bombay elite).

It is 100% Bakistan and Islam (Islam allows Drugs but not alcohol according to many Islamic sects).

The thing is that if Opium based drugs are controlled (by restricting Bakistan) there will be no synthetic drugs available in Punjab.

The problem is the nexus of police, politicians (all parties including AAP), industrialists and Mafia!

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Re: Social Problems in Panjab and their Strategic Impact

Postby sanjaykumar » 04 Jan 2016 05:04

Alright this is not just terrorism, it is genocide. They are destroying a people by targeting the most vulnerable-the youth.

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Re: Social Problems in Panjab and their Strategic Impact

Postby ManSingh » 04 Jan 2016 07:07

Bajwa saab, take it easy. I never gave a clean chit to D-company and/or pakistan.

I am only a little more than half your age( and not very distant from Batala ). So I don't have the top down perspective you might have. I can only state what I have seen happen around me in the past few years. Hence our perspective can differ. No offense meant.

Cough syrup, iodex on bread, rubbing boot polish on the head and sitting in the sun, stinging yourself with snake venom are old techniques. They are no longer in vogue now. These days young one's mainly use capsules, injectable drugs etc. This is main reason for Hepatitis and HIV prevalence among youth. One walk around the fields in the morning in villages and one can easily notice the amount of capsules people use. Surely Punjab doesn't have any epidemic going on.

Opium, smack and heroin are very prevalent too. But consider the cost of opium, smack, these are for relatively well off( or criminal minds ). Btw, heroin is called chitta and is the latest rage in Punjab. So it it not necessarily a thing for the elite of Delhi/Mumbai.

In case anyone is interested, the below is the best short explanation on Punjab's drug problem:

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Re: Social Problems in Panjab and their Strategic Impact

Postby ramana » 04 Jan 2016 07:10

If there is drug money there is a British hand behind it.

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Re: Social Problems in Panjab and their Strategic Impact

Postby NRao » 04 Jan 2016 07:54

This has been a problem for more than a decade. Did it require an attack on an iaf base to start a thread?

And there are many such problems.

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Re: Social Problems in Panjab and their Strategic Impact

Postby SSridhar » 04 Jan 2016 08:18

^ I agree

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Re: Social Problems in Panjab and their Strategic Impact

Postby Vikas » 04 Jan 2016 13:12

I wonder why Drugs are so prevalent in Punjab and not in say UP or Haryana or Raj unless situation is equally bad in other states too but Punjab being border state as well having risk of falling back into terror sink hole gets more visibility.
NBJP in these states are as honest as those in Punjab. so what gives ?

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Re: Social Problems in Panjab and their Strategic Impact

Postby SBajwa » 04 Jan 2016 20:38

by VikasRaina
I wonder why Drugs are so prevalent in Punjab and not in say UP or Haryana or Raj unless situation is equally bad in other states too but Punjab being border state as well having risk of falling back into terror sink hole gets more visibility.
NBJP in these states are as honest as those in Punjab. so what gives ?


The expensive good quality chitta (Heroin), etc go over to the big cities (Amritsar, Chandigarh, Delhi and its satellite cities)., while other areas are supplied by Sea route (off course by the D company) the rich people who can afford it are targeted while cheap residue of these drugs is sold in the countryside of Punjab where again depending upon your financial clout you can buy everything from good quality heroin to boot polish mixed opium or even fake stuff.

It does not makes any sense to try to reach all the way to UP/Bihar as Punjab already is a big market even it does not gets to Haryana. The olympian boxer Vijender Singh from Haryana was also involved with some NRI drug dealers (From Canada)

http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-dr ... ce-1817491

In old times (70s, 80s) all over punjab, a person (livelihood) among a cluster of villages (lets say 5) would be known as smuggler of Opium from Afghanistan (or Ghazipur in U.P) so local people who like opium would get it from him. Same thing with alcohol which was more prevalent with each village having their own distiller (There is even a caste in Punjab by the last name Kalal which means Alcohol Distiller).

The synthetic drugs is post Khalistan issue., counterfeit currency and drugs along with thousand cuts policy is 100% totally Bakistani policy. They are succeeding in making the punjabi youth hollow.

Earlier when recruiting Armed forces would find thousands of suitable candidates, Now I hear that in several recruitment camps they would not even find a single fit youth for armed forces.

Drug problems in Punjab are totally due to close proximity of the Pakjabi cities to the border. Drug problem is not that much of an issue in other border states like Rajasthan or Gujarat because of the sparse population in their respective areas across the border.
Last edited by SBajwa on 05 Jan 2016 01:04, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: Social Problems in Panjab and their Strategic Impact

Postby svenkat » 04 Jan 2016 21:27

http://www.thehindu.com/sport/other-sports/nightmare-over-vijender-singh-gets-back-to-normal-life/article4732992.ece(google search)

My wild guess is if one tries to catch a tiger by its tail and tries to ride it,there can be only one of two results-either one is eaten by the tiger or one kills the tiger.

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Re: Social Problems in Panjab and their Strategic Impact

Postby Samudragupta » 04 Jan 2016 22:05

Religion is the opium of masses....once Khalistani movement is put down they are fed the real one I believe from across the border and helped by locals...

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Re: Social Problems in Panjab and their Strategic Impact

Postby Picklu » 04 Jan 2016 22:57

Punjab also has been a affluent state without moral dogma on alcohol and with effective control on Delhi. Ready made market for bootlegging.

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Re: Social Problems in Panjab and their Strategic Impact

Postby Muppalla » 04 Jan 2016 23:01

I request not to move this thread to GD. This is a very important topic and that is ruining the state of Punjab and potentially HP and Haryana in the next threat level.

We keep blaming everything on the Pakistan. Yes it will fish in your open backyard. It could be a complete collapse of value system in the state of Punjab. While an effective offence strategy is needed, there is also need of an introspective rebuild of values.

First of all there is no really agriculture as a reason for any poverty issues. Gurudwaras are all over and everywhere and in spite of the religious network being intact, the numbers of 70%+ youth taking drugs is a serious issue of failure of value system. One have to see the root causes beyond just Afghan-Pak trade which is just logistics.

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Re: Social Problems in Panjab and their Strategic Impact

Postby ramana » 05 Jan 2016 00:26

After Khalistan movement was put down Congress started drug culture, Akalis maximised it.

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Re: Social Problems in Panjab and their Strategic Impact

Postby SBajwa » 05 Jan 2016 01:08

https://www.quora.com/Who-is-responsibl ... njab-India

The Indian state of Punjab is in the grip of a drug abuse crisis. Surveys indicate that more than half of all rural households are home to at least one drug addict, a problem most severe along the Pakistan border.

Manish Khular, an 18-year-old school dropout is smoking smack, an adulterated form of heroin, in a dingy flat along with a bunch of friends. He carefully prepares a wrap of the drug, then leans over the heated silver foil to smoke it before lolling back, staring wide-eyed at the ceiling.
"This is bliss. I have been doing this for nearly two years. I can't get off," Khular told DW. He gradually drifts into a stupor.
Punjab - a drug epidemic
Drug abuse is not new but matters have been getting worse in recent months as almost a whole generation of young people is being lost to a menace that has literally shattered the physical and mental health of Punjab's youth.
According to authorities, drug smuggling in border areas has increased. From heroin and opium to barbiturates, cough syrup and alcohol, there has been an alarming rise in the number of teens addicted to drugs, which are freely available.
One survey by the state's department of Social Security Development of Women and Children late last year suggested that as many as 67 percent of rural households in Punjab had at least one drug addict in the family. Worse, there is at least one death due to drug overdose each week in the region.
It also revealed that most drug addicts belong to the 16-to-35 age group, indicating the high vulnerability of young people in the border belt.
"If we don't do anything about this problem, one entire generation of youth will be wiped away. There is no political will and the awareness campaigns need to be stepped up," Dr. P. D. Garg, a psychiatrist at the state-run Guru Nank Dev hospital, told DW.
Garg sees at least 30 patients everyday and is distressed by the rising numbers of drug abuse among them.
"Families have been destroyed because of this and I see no respite. It is almost as if the entire Punjab is in the octopus-like grip of different kinds of drug abuse," he said.
Dr. Hardeep Singh, a consultant at a private hospital, pointed out that if the drug problem went unchecked, cases of HIV/AIDS spread through syringes would also rise.
Singh also said he has seen a rise in the number of patients. "The problem of drug addiction is steadily assuming alarming proportions in Punjab's border areas which include many villages adjoining Pakistan. Several youth, who were expected to take up their traditional agricultural business, are instead trapped in this vicious cycle," Singh told DW.
Dark days ahead
According to some reports, up to 70 percent of Punjab's youth is addicted to drugs

Heroin is the drug that is causing most concern in the region. With the deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan and the comeback of opium crops, there has been widespread smuggling of drugs from across the border as well as more organized efforts to spread the drug habit among youth, according to authorities.
Alarm bells rang in the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Indian security agencies late last year when a bumper seizure of drugs being smuggled into India from Pakistan was held up by authorities near the Punjab border last year.
Officials say the 275 kg-seizure clearly showed the increasing demand for drugs in the state.
"Smuggling syndicates across the border are always looking at ingenuous ways to ship drugs. They are constantly improving and we have to be one step ahead. We are doing our best but I know the problem is serious," J. S. Prasad, Amritsar's sectoral commander of the Border Security Force told DW.

"Forget about what goes undetected," he added.
For now, the high numbers of young people in Punjab addicted to drugs has become a national problem. And unless something is seriously done by the authorities, it could well spiral out of control.

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Re: Social Problems in Panjab and their Strategic Impact

Postby Muppalla » 05 Jan 2016 01:12

NRao wrote:This has been a problem for more than a decade. Did it require an attack on an iaf base to start a thread?

And there are many such problems.


come on. Having a problem of drugs is different from 70% of a demographic being drug addicts.

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Re: Social Problems in Panjab and their Strategic Impact

Postby SBajwa » 05 Jan 2016 01:13

http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/sunday ... 31353.html

Drug addiction is not a Punjab-specific problem, though social, cultural and economic patterns over several years encouraged its proliferation because of lack of discouragement. It is an affliction that’s been allowed a firm footing in the border state, becoming almost an accepted way of life as those who could make a difference looked the other way. Now that the political class does seem to be looking at the mess, is it the right way?

Drug use — primarily the intake of opium — had been part of the social and cultural compass long before Punjab was partitioned and then divided. That said, drug abuse was always considered an exception, not the rule — it was lampooned in comic characterisation and looked down upon. “In folk literature, songs and movies, we always had a drug addict in the plot. But he was never the hero. He was always made fun of. Those who took even liquor avoided meeting the parents and even one’s spouse,” says Dr Gurbhajan Gill, former head of the Punjabi Sahit Akademi. “It was even considered healthy, and people in the Malwa belt still feel small doses of opium are good for health,” he points out. “The influence also comes from the prevailing culture in neighbouring Rajasthan where opium was, and still is, served like paan in weddings.”

The use increased with the advent of the Green Revolution in the state. More work in the fields brought more labourers and the demand of poppy husk and opium increased manifold. Dr Gill recalls how it was common for big farmers to supply opium and poppy husk to labourers, “since it served like machine oil”. Similarly, industrialisation in the country opened more routes for Punjabi truck drivers and they took to poppy husk and opium as they felt it helped them in driving for longer hours.

Lethal transition
It was the transition from poppy husk and opium and its usual suspect users to the lethal heroin or smack, and later synthetic drugs, that rang alarm bells, says Dr Rajiv Gupta, who heads the Punjab Psychiatrist Association. Experts trace it to the heavy flow of heroin through the then unfenced border with Pakistan in the 1980s. Narco-terrorism’s push came after 2000, and the impetus was in 2007 when China and Japan cracked down on heroin smuggling and India emerged as one of the biggest markets. The entry point: Punjab.

A study by Prof PS Verma of the Chandigarh-based Institute of Development and Communication points out how India was sandwiched between the “golden triangle” of drugs — Vietnam, Myanmar and Thailand — and the “golden crescent” of Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan, where opium was produced and smuggled. The year 2007 saw a 10-time increase in the recovery of heroin in Punjab.

With more heroin, popularly known as chitta or white powder, being pushed into the state from across the border and trucks full of poppy husk and opium reaching the state from Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, the trade assumed large proportions. It was Maqboolpura, a congested colony in Amritsar, that first pricked the conscience of the region when The Tribune in 1999 reported about the death of 30 householders in three years who had fallen prey to addictive substances and called it the “locality of widows”.

Over 3.3 lakh addicts were registered for treatment in various de-addiction centres across Punjab from June 15 to December 15 last year as part of the massive drive against drug abuse. As many as 22,700 jail inmates were also provided treatment, as the police arrested 45,000 persons for narcotic smuggling or possession in 2014 alone.

Deadly drugs like heroin and synthetic tablets have made it into an organised crime, consuming lives, destroying families and damaging the image of a people and a state. Add to that the growing evidence of pharmaceutical opioid abuse where addicts are graduating to injecting formulations with opium-like qualities (hence called opioids). Among pharma opioids are buprenorphine, pentazocine and dextropropyxyphyne. Over-the-counter cough syrups like Corex and Benadryl too are much in demand.

Rural context, joblessness

Does easy supply lead to addiction, or does the demand result in increased supply? Why did Punjab so easily fall into the drug trap?

Studies point to some striking aspects of Punjab’s drug addiction problem. It has a predominant rural context and the users are relatively affluent, unlike in the rest of the country. The drugs used are mostly injectable, which are commonly associated with urban settings.

The intensity and extremity of the addiction too is a unique Punjabi occurrence. Experts explain it in terms of the deep-rooted cultures of consumption and masculinity, the declining growth rates of the rural economy, the influx of migrants, the impact of unemployment on educated rural youth, and the culture of aspiration and expectation, which quickly swerves to depression when things don’t fall in place.

Research studies also point to the failure of Punjab’s industrial sector to absorb the increasing number of employable youth from rural areas, and the cultural attributes that inhibit educated youth from taking up certain jobs, especially in the farm sector. There’s also a clash between unemployment and the culture of aspiration among the many affluent young men in rural Punjab, who are at the centre of the problem. Frustration, boredom and laziness are all experienced simultaneously, as an expert puts it. Those who can, migrate; those who are unable to can be easy prey.

No one exactly knows the extent of the drug problem in the state; the varied figures that are often quoted are based on sporadic studies and anecdotal instances. When Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi remarked during an election rally in 2012 that 70 per cent of Punjab’s youth were under the influence of drugs, the figure may have been questionable, but what was relevant was the start of a debate. Now that it’s taken shape of a political slugfest, the core issue of the huge battle against drugs is still lost in the war of words.

Jarring political response: Sparring

There's a perception in Punjab that the politicians of all hues and even the police are beneficiaries of the drug trade, and are part of the problem. Retired DGP Shashi Kant Sharma went on to claim that the new narco-political elite used drug money to fund elections.

Punjab Police have tried to shed the image with huge recoveries, busting of drug gangs and sustained crackdowns. But a senior police officer points to the difficulty in letting go of notions: “More drug recoveries show the security agencies are more alert and serious about the issue, but the media and the Opposition say it means an increase in smuggling and higher consumption!”

The politicians have chosen the easy way out: sparring and what sounds more jarring, dharnas. The Shiromani Akali Dal organised one against the Border Security Force, the Bharatiya Janata Party plans “4,500 rallies” and the Congress has one lined up on January 22.

The Congress claims the drug smuggling went up when the Akalis came to power in 2007 and is still increasing, while the Akalis stress that they were the ones who launched a campaign to “save the youth of the country as Punjab was just a transit point for smuggling and not the main consumer”. Both the parties forget how satirist and Aam Aadmi Party MP from Sangrur Bhagwant Mann based his entire election campaign on drugs and won a famous victory.

It was when an arrested drug lord named Cabinet minister Bikram Singh Majithia as having a role in the flourishing drug racket, a claim flatly denied, that the politicking reached a feverish pitch, but the issue confronting Punjab was again ignored.

‘Denial is the biggest mistake’

The first and foremost priority should be to avoid the denial mode on drug addiction by everyone, feels Chandigarh-based Institute for Development and Communication Director Dr Pramod Kumar. “There’s an abdication syndrome prevailing among all. Unfortunately, the debate has been reduced to sermonising that who should do what.” he says.

“The demand of vice is a bigger problem than the one who lures you to bad habits. We must check the supply in any forceful way we can, but the focus should be the recipient, the one who is seeking the supply. For that, the role of each one of us is important. I would put the role of parents on the top,” he adds.

Dr Kumar says it must be acknowledged that the debate on drugs, the politics and the counter-action may be entirely new or new in a different way, but drug intake was always present in the history and culture of this region.

“The enormity of a problem is not the function of numbers. Even if one person is taking drugs, it is a problem. Sadly, drug abuse has emerged as a new currency in politics,” he opines.

Samudragupta
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Re: Social Problems in Panjab and their Strategic Impact

Postby Samudragupta » 05 Jan 2016 14:36

The most important point that we are all missing here is.... Punjab-Haryana continue to be the largest recruitment base for the army....if the society is in fact hit by something like this...needs to ponder over the fact whether Punjabization of the Indian army after 1880 was a good idea????

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Re: Social Problems in Panjab and their Strategic Impact

Postby SBajwa » 05 Jan 2016 19:09

by Samundargupta
Punjabization of the Indian army after 1880 was a good idea????


Actually the "Punjabization of British Indian Army started right around 1857., when Hodson Horse was found by incorporating the soldiers of Sarkar Khalsa (Maharaja Ranjit Singh's army). This unit fought at Delhi defeating the Mughal Bahadur Shah zafar.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/4th_Horse ... s_Horse%29

The real reason that Punjabis joined British was because in their mind it was not the British Army that had defeated them in a series of 6 anglo-sikh wars in 1845 and in 1849 but the Bihars/Bengalis of Eastern India. So when Biharis/Bengalis revolted against British., The disbanded Sarkar Khalsa Army supported them.

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Re: Social Problems in Panjab and their Strategic Impact

Postby UlanBatori » 05 Jan 2016 20:02

Cough syrup, iodex on bread, rubbing boot polish on the head and sitting in the sun, stinging yourself with snake venom are old techniques.


THAT's y I come on BRF: the education. Despite my vast knowledge, having lived for 4 years next to the Narmada Flying Club, I was not aware of these exotic techniques.

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Re: Social Problems in Panjab and their Strategic Impact

Postby Kashi » 06 Jan 2016 12:04

UlanBatori wrote:
Cough syrup, iodex on bread, rubbing boot polish on the head and sitting in the sun, stinging yourself with snake venom are old techniques.


THAT's y I come on BRF: the education. Despite my vast knowledge, having lived for 4 years next to the Narmada Flying Club, I was not aware of these exotic techniques.


This one I certainly wasn't aware of. Well you learn somethign new everyday. I wonder who was the illustrious- or poor if you prefer- soul who came up with this.

Of course, sniffing gum, industrial solvents, Korex and even Petrol are other knowns...

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Re: Social Problems in Panjab and their Strategic Impact

Postby SBajwa » 06 Jan 2016 20:16

We usually buy Benedryl when visiting India (helps with allergies) as Benadryl is very diluted here in USA. At a shop in Karnal, Haryana pharmacist would not give me two large bottles of Benadryl. I had to show him my passport and explain that I promise to drink them in 2 years.

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Re: Social Problems in Panjab and their Strategic Impact

Postby Haresh » 06 Jan 2016 20:32

My family are from the Hoshiarpur & Kapurthalla areas of Punjab.

I have discussed this with one of my cousins who is working here in the UK.

His take on the drug addiction issue is that, people turn to drugs because they have absolutley nothing else to do. there is an air of despondency.
When you have young people sitting around with no work and no chance of work then their life options are limited.

A/ go abroad
B/ move to a big city to look for work (and lose family support network)
c/ crime
d/ drugs/alcohol to drown your sorrows.

Industrialisation in Punjab needs to be stepped up, infra projects etc.

My family have lost one member to drugs, I got the impression from my cousin that families, communities just do not know how to cope with addiction, addicts are just disowned, which is the worst thing to do.

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Re: Social Problems in Panjab and their Strategic Impact

Postby ramana » 07 Jan 2016 05:06

Haresh, Thanks for the honest feedback.

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Re: Social Problems in Panjab and their Strategic Impact

Postby Prem » 07 Jan 2016 05:14

Haresh wrote:My family are from the Hoshiarpur & Kapurthalla areas of Punjab.I have discussed this with one of my cousins who is working here in the UK.Industrialisation in Punjab needs to be stepped up, infra projects etc.My family have lost one member to drugs, I got the impression from my cousin that families, communities just do not know how to cope with addiction, addicts are just disowned, which is the worst thing to do.


Punjab cannot afford heavy industry but now with 3D printing ,huge opportunity have opened up. With huge diaspora, they can get billions in investment if corruption can be tamed.

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Re: Social Problems in Panjab and their Strategic Impact

Postby Vikas » 07 Jan 2016 10:10

Punjab always was on the edge of Drugs and violence. Even during the times of Ranjit Singh, They were called Bhangi Misl due to excessive usage of Bhaang.
I think what has changed is the availability of next generation of drugs and excessive money involved in its trade. I doubt if Pakistan is specifically targeting Indian Punjab with drugs. They themselves are suffering from the same monster while its peddler are willing to sell it wherever they can. Drug traders are equal opportunity partners.

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Re: Social Problems in Panjab and their Strategic Impact

Postby Haresh » 07 Jan 2016 12:40

Jhujar wrote:Punjab cannot afford heavy industry but now with 3D printing ,huge opportunity have opened up. With huge diaspora, they can get billions in investment if corruption can be tamed


All the government is directly responsible for is laying out infrastructure.
Private industry will follow the road networks and electrical cables.

It does not have to be "Heavy industry".
Punjab is an agricultural state, this has huge potential. Food processing agri businesses could be the way forward.

The fruit harvest in Himachal can be processed in Punjab, jams, canned fruit etc.
Obviously building roads in mountains is difficult, they do get washed away. I went to school briefly in Dagshai and have memories of flooding and landslides. Maybe if a cable car network could be commissioned to move products from HP to the Punjab this would help.
Also the other thing my cousin told me that grain/pulse storage is primative, consisting of godowns covered in tarpurlins. Surely work could be commissioned on building modern grain storage structures, it would provide employment in the construction phase.

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Re: Social Problems in Panjab and their Strategic Impact

Postby member_23365 » 07 Jan 2016 20:32

Drug menace is reaching Haryana too.
But Hooda needs appreciation for promoting sports in a big way which weaned youth from drugs.
I think Haryana has the best policy in India promoting sports and that has not only yielded medals for country but has helped in building characters of youth. Its a constant fight and BJP govt right now doesnt seems to as encouraging as the previous govt was regarding sports.


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