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SHILLONG | Sept 09, 2019:

The second day of the Assembly Autumn today witnessed a lengthy discussion on the increasing cases of drug abuse in the state.

The Opposition expressed concerns over the large number of youths in the State being exposed to drugs even as lauding the efforts of the Anti-Narcotics Task Force (ANTF) of East Khasi Hills to tackle the problem of drugs menace.

Initiating a short duration discussion on this issue, Congress legislator, Process T Sawkmie said that it is alarming that the number of drug users in the State is increasing. “It is high time that everyone should fight against drug problem and protect our youths from becoming drug addicts. I am deeply concerned since there are 11,000 Injection Drug Users (IDUs) in the State. The number of IDUs will increase,” Sawkmie said.

He however lauded that the ANTF of East Khasi Hills led by the Superintendent of Police, Claudia A Lyngwa for going all out to fight against the drug menace.

Meanwhile, Congress legislator from Mawsynram, Hima Shangpliang while participating in the call attention motion said that the ANTF team so far has seized 4 kg of heroin, 1200 gram of Yabha amphetamine tablet and 1150 kg of ganza or marijuana whose value would be around Rs 15 crore.

“We appreciate the action taken by the ANTF of East Khasi Hills for putting sleepless night in trying to contain the flow of drug into the State. Few years back, Shillong used to be a transit point of drugs which was destine elsewhere. But in the past few months, Shillong has become a destination to drugs. This problem has penetrated to every nook and corner of the city and the adjoining districts,” Shangpliang said.

Stressing on the need to root out the drug menace, he said that it will not be too long to see that majority of the youths are expose to drugs.

“I was shocked to hear that an 11 years old boy died due to overdose of drugs. I would like to ask — are we going to just be mute spectators… We need intervention in the form of social awareness by involving the NGOs, educational institutions, civil society and churches. The Social Welfare department can introduce a curriculum in the school to sensitise the young children on the bad effects of drug,” the Congress legislator from Mawsynram said.

Shangpliang said that the six rehabilitation centres which are operational in the State are all being run by the private parties adding that there is not even a single rehabilitation centre which being run by the Government.

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The Congress legislator from Mawsynram said that the increasing number of drug users has also led to the increase of HIV positive cases and cases of people suffering from Hepatitis C. Shangpliang also questioned whether the Government has got a roadmap to address the drugs problem issue.

Also participating in the call attention motion was Congress legislator from Umroi, Geogrge B Lyngdoh.

While replying to the short duration discussion, Deputy Chief Minister, Prestone Tynsong said that the police department has taken up various measures to curb the drug menace in the state.

Tynsong said that the Meghalaya police have acquired four narcotic sniffer dogs which are being deployed for regular checking at the district jails of Shillong, Jowai and Nongpoh and are also involved in surprise checking of vehicle along national highways.

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He also said that information and intelligence are usually being shared by ANTF/police with the neighbouring districts of the state as well as the states bordering with Meghalaya.

Tynsong also informed that the police department has ventured into a series of awareness campaigns against the menace of drugs in schools, colleges, markets and localities and various vulnerable places.

Furthermore, he stated that the Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL), Meghalaya have also been strengthened in terms of procurement of new equipment and addition of two scientists to expedite the pending examination of exhibits.

He also informed that a total number of 59 cases were registered and 92 persons were arrested. Apart from that, Tynsong informed the House that 1628.495 grams of heroin and 1184.15 kilograms were seized by the police.

COAL MINING

Deputy Chief Minister, Prestone Tynsong, on Monday told the House that the government is committed to promote scientific, environment friendly and safe coal mining.

Replying on a Zero Hour discussion, during the Autumn Session of the Assembly, Tynsong said, “Immediately after coming to power, the present government for the first time since the imposition of ban by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) in 2014 took up the issue seriously and approached the Supreme Court.”

Tynsong told the House that on July 3 this year passed a landmark judgment and recognized rights of the tribal communities over land as well as the sub-surface rights.

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He also clarified that in the event of mining operations undertaken by the tribals or other owners of hills districts Meghalaya in accordance with mining lease obtained from the state as per the Mines and Minerals (Development & Regulation) Act, 1957 and Mineral Concession Rules, 1960, the ban order of the NGT dated April 17, 2014 shall not come in its way of carrying mining operations.

INTER -STATE BOUNDARY DISPUTE

Deputy Chief Minister, Prestone Tynsong today informed the House that 56 incidents took place in the past three years from 2017 due to the Inter-State border dispute with Assam.

Replying to a query raised by Member from the Opposition Congress, George B Lyngdoh during Question Hour, Tynsong said in West Khasi Hills district 20 such incidents took place, Ri-Bhoi 21, West Khasi Hills 14 and West Garo Hills district 1 such incident took place over the past three years.

Deputy Chief Minister said the respective Deputy Commissioner and the Superintendents of Police immediately took up the issues with their respective counterparts in Assam to defuse the problems.

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FLOOD RELIEF

On the other hand, Minister in-charge Revenue and Disaster Management, Kyrmen Shylla informed the House during question hour that extensive damage was caused due to the recent floods in different districts of the State. There was damage to households, cattle and cultivation due to the floods.

Replying to a question raised by Member from the Opposition Congress, Himalaya M Shangpliang, Mr. Shylla said the maximum damage was caused in West Garo Hills district in which 27585 households were affected and 3505 hectare of agricultural land was also affected.

The second most affected district was South West Garo Hills district in which 6072 households were affected. Moreover, 909 hectares of agricultural land was also affected. In East Khasi Hills 1703 households were affected by the flood, the Minister informed the House.

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