People accuse that Governments are supporting drug mafia. They say Government is helping peddlers. It is their political gimmicks, they have their own interests for that they blame each other. On this International Day Against Drugs Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, here, I am not blaming Government for supporting illegal trafficking of poison, but yes they are ‘legally’ sowing the poison in Indian soil that is plaguing our youth, our nation.
What can be sadder than this, that the lands of the brave are now wasted! Wake Up Governments: Say goodbye to drugs, any amount of revenue generated from tobacco & opium cannot compensate for the precious lives we lose every year.
The Scourge of Drugs – Where Governments Fail
The population of India has reached over 1 billion people and is increasing. The country is growing at an incredible pace in terms of numbers. But here is something that is halting the growth of our nation. Some reports suggest that there is an increasing use of illicit drugs and reported numbers are over 3 million drug addicts in India.
From teens experimenting with so-called party drugs, to those trapped into lifelong addictions, one thing is clear – the damage caused to the individual and the wider implication on our society is too serious to ignore.
Large number of the addicts are treated within the families amidst increasing financial burdens, lack of appropriate services and care, which is a huge challenge for the country. Back in 2014, our honorable Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged the nation to come forwards to fight against the scourge of drugs.
In his second radio address ‘Mann ki Baat’ PM had said, “I received a letter from a citizen on the problems related to drugs the people are dealing with nowadays. I promise that I am going to talk about it in my next programme”. PM Modi also urged the citizens of the country to share more information on the issues related to drugs that can be discussed in the programme.
Certainly, many would have shared the information and suggestions. But the question is, this is 2016, and what has Government done so far? Yes, he did ‘Mann Ki Baat’, he expressed his concern about this stigma, almost every ‘politician’ talks about it, but what walking the talk?
It is not just the illegal intoxicants that are worrying our government, but legalization of cultivation of certain dangerous plants (read poison) has also proved to be an eminent danger for our nation. According to a report from International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), license for opium cultivation has been granted to 170,000 families in India, spread throughout 6,900 villages; therefore given the usual family size of four to six, at least a million people are directly involved in this business. Over 70% of the opium grown here ends up in the black market or is saved for the villagers’ personal use. India is said to be a transit route for illicit heroin, hashish, and morphine base from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Burma. Now one can claim that this ‘licensed’ opium is used for medicinal needs. Guys, this is not the truth. Most of it goes into the making of catastrophic realms of Heroin (the Chitta), Morphine, Codeine, Smack and that desi poppy husk.
Similarly, India is one of the largest producers of tobacco. India has more than 1 lac registered tobacco farmers and many more who are not registered. It is a lesser-known fact that around 0.25% of India’s cultivated land is used for production of tobacco.
Government calls it ‘revenue generation’, but here is the truth:
Our government claims that opium and tobacco make a significant contribution to the national economy and together provide employment to more than a million people. But here is a report that indicates the other aspect of this fact.
- In a study conducted jointly by a team lead led by Dr. Rijo M John, Assistant Professor at Indian Institute of Technology, Jodhpur, and Dr. Monica Arora of Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI) found that the total economic cost of tobacco-related diseases of people aged between 35 years to 69 years in India in 2011 alone stood at a staggering Rs 1,04,00,000 crores. Of this, Rs 16,800 crores were direct costs alone.
- Every six seconds, someone in the world dies from tobacco use, and approximately every sixth death occurs in India. India accounts roughly for 10 per cent of world’s tobacco smokers. India is also the third largest producer of tobacco in the world. Certainly, any amount of revenue generated from tobacco & opium cannot compensate for the precious lives we lose every year.
- Likewise, the expenses that are needed for running de-addiction programmes are much higher than the revenues generated by cultivation of opium. Various state-run drug de-addiction centers have reportedly run out of medicines. They do not have adequate staff to deal with the huge rush of drug users who are dependent on opium, opiates or other synthetic drugs.
Say Goodbye To Drugs – Move to a Fruitful Venture
Semi-arid lands of Kota (Rajasthan) that were usually covered with bright-purple or red poppy flowers are now turned into orange-laden orchards. The farmers who cultivated opium for generations in Kota-Jhalawar region, a traditional poppy growing belt of Rajasthan, have moved to citrus cultivation. This area was once a thriving town on a caravan route of opium peddlers and now is growing as a hub for export-quality citrus. The sheet of purple Jhalawar used to wear every winter with fragile poppy blooms is now a thing of past with orange-laden orchards taking over. Oranges produced in Jhalawar region are of export-quality, and shipped to various countries. “My family used to cultivate poppy or opium for generations. Opium cultivation is very tedious and the plant is fragile and easily suffers damage due to natural calamities, rain, hailstorms, diseases etc. Besides, Opium addiction has already ruined our generation, but now we are happy with orange, it’s giving us better revenues and is not killing us in any way“ says Ajit Singh, a farmer from Salotia a small village in Jhalawar.
Saint Gurmeet Ram Rahim Shows The Way To Fight Against Drugs Menace
While druglord’s lobby is busy pushing their agendas, recommending Governments to stay high on ‘lethal revenue’, Saint Ram Rahim opines them to generate revenue and employment by cultivation of medicinal herbs rather than growing venom in our rich- cultured nation’s land. He suggests that growing herbal medicinal plants could do wonders for the betterment of the society by earning much higher revenue and generating employment as well. Treatment of illness and maintenance of health using herbal medicines is the oldest and most popular form of healthcare known to humanity that has been practiced by all cultures and in all ages, throughout the history of civilization. Recently there has been a universal shift in the trend from synthetic to herbal medicine, which can be termed as ‘Return to Nature’. The utilization of the herbal drugs is a much-accepted trend and market is growing day by day.
The annual turnover of the Indian herbal medicinal industry is about Rs. 2,300 crore, as against the pharmaceutical industry’s turnover is of Rs. 14,500 crore, with a growth rate of 15 percent. With people becoming aware about the benefits of organic farming, more and more farmers are opting for this trend. Dheeraj kumar from Sach Herbotech says, growing medicinal plants like Safed Musli, Ashva-Gandha, Guggulu, Aloe Vera, Shatavari etc. can yield a revenue over of Rs. 60,000-70,000 per acre in an year.