SAC approves Drug-Deaddiction Policy for JK
JAMMU: The State Administrative Council (SAC) which met here today under the chairmanship of Governor, Satya Pal Malik accorded sanction to the first ever Drug De-addiction Policy to provide for a comprehensive mechanism to address the menace of drug addiction in Jammu and Kashmir.
The issue of functioning of various De-addiction facilities and provision of good health conditions to the inmates, establishment of rehabilitation centres, Drug De-addiction Centres and providing a comprehensive mechanism to address this malady has been a subject matter of PIL No. 317/05 in the case titled Javid Iqbal V/s State of J&K and others.
The Court had directed the State Government to draft the Drug De-addiction Policy and provide a more comprehensive mechanism to address the menace of drug addiction. Consequent to this a series of meetings were chaired by the Chief Secretary and slew of directions were issued to Health & Medical Education (H&ME) Department including the release of Rs 50,000 each to GMC, Jammu and Srinagar to facilitate an empirical study on the extent of Drug Addiction and De-addiction challenges. The H&ME Department was also asked to appoint Nodal Officers to integrate/monitor the activities regarding Drug De-addiction across the various Departments in the State.
The Policy drafted by the Institute of Mental Health and Neuroscience’s, Government Medical College, Srinagar incorporates inputs from experts of SKIMS Bemina, GMC Jammu and State AIDS Control Organization. The Policy paper was extensively deliberated by a Committee of officers in the H&ME Department headed by Principal Secretary, H&ME Department. The Committee made its recommendations in the form of a Draft Drug De-Addiction Policy which was also put in the public domain by the Department for inviting suggestions/comments and many useful suggestions/comments received from various notable institutes like TATA Institute of Social Sciences, NIMHANS, PGI and State Crime Branch were incorporated in the final draft. The H&ME Department pursued the finalization of the draft policy vigorously.
The Policy focuses on various key aspects including prevention, rehabilitation and integration, training and sensitization, community participation, generating awareness, upgradation/establishment of drug de-addiction centers. It lays out a comprehensive action plan for addressing the drug addiction issue in its entirety.
Pertinent to mention here is that there has been a steep rise in physical, mental and substance-use disorders over the past two decades across the State. There has been an alarming shift inthe patternof substance use in terms ofrise in the number of femaleusers, decreasing age at first-use, increasing use of solvents, injectable opiates and use of steroids as well asincreasing drug related deaths (over- dose and accidents). The menace of drug addiction if not controlled will take the form of an epidemic.
As per the data base of GMC, Jammu and Associated Hospitals, the number of patients visiting OPD with substance related problems were 2122 in 2014-15, 2278 in 2015-16, 2354 in 2016-17 and 2398 in 2017-18. The number of patients with substance use disorders admitted in the year 2014-15 was 46, in 2015-16 it was 55 and in 2017-18 about 66 patients were treated in the in-patient department of the de-addiction Centre of GMC, Jammu.
According to the database of GMC, Srinagar and Associated Hospitals, the number ofpatients with substance use visiting OPDin the year 2016-2017 was 6157 and between Jan 2017 and Dec 2017 it was 6550. A recent study conducted in a Drug De-addiction Centre in Srinagar, found that over two-third of patients in the study hadstarted substance abuse in the age groupof 11-20 years.
At the Community Centre, SMHSComplex, the number of patients with drug dependence admitted in the year 2016-2017 was 535 and between 2017-2018 it was 710.
Most common substances of abuse identified included nicotine, opium and medicinal opioids, cannabis, benzodiazepines and other prescription medications, alcohol and inhalants.
The SAC also accorded sanction to a set of exemptions for making the 624 MW Kiru Hydro Electric Project (HEP) commercially viable.
The Kiru 624 MW HEP is a run of the river scheme on river Chenab located in District Kishtwar. It is one of the most important HEP being implemented through M/S CVPPL, a Joint Venture Company formed between NHPC (49%), JKSPDC (49%) and PTC (2%).
To make the project commercially viable, proposal for granting various exemptions to the project was thoroughly examined by the various departments. After extensive deliberations, it was decided that instead of exemption of 12% free power for first 10 years of the COD of the project as was done in case of PaklDul HEP, free power will be exempted in a decremental manner for the first five years of commercial operation of the project and will restore to 12% from 6th year onwards. Thus, free power will be exempted at 10% in the first year, 8 % in the second year, 6% in the third year, 4% in the fourth year and 2% in the fifth year of commercial operation of the project. The 12% free power will restore from the sixth year onwards of the commercial operation of the project.
Pertinently, in case of 1000MW PakalDulHydropower Project approved by the then Government in 2017, the state will get 12 percent free power and water usage chargesonly after 10 years of commissioning of the project while in case of Kiru HEP, 12% free power will be restored to J&K in the 6th year only in a decremental order starting from the first year of operation.
The total project cost works out at Rs 3985.10 crore and equity requirements from the Government of J&K shall be Rs 585.80 crore for the project. The cost of the project will include subordinate debt of Rs 1500 crore from Government of India.
The State will earn revenue of about Rs 4153.57 crore (in absolute terms), on account of incremental free power for first five years and 12% from 6th year onwards and Rs 4800.78 crore on account of water usage charges, aggregating to Rs 8954.35 crore for the remaining life of 25 years of the project.
In addition, there shall be LADF@1% of power generated and CSR @2% of the average net profit for preceding three years which is equivalent to Rs 499.81 Crore for the life of the project.
Tariff of the project shall be approximately Rs 3.38/unit (first year) and Rs 3.91/ unit levelized.
The SAC also approved enhancement in the income ceiling from Rs 4.50 lakh to Rs 8 lakh in respect of Socially and Educationally Backward Classes for availing reservation benefits as per provisions of the Jammu & Kashmir Reservation Act, 2004.
As per provisions of the Act, reservation in employment and admissions in professional institutions, among others is provided to the persons belonging to Socially and Educationally Backward Classes categorized as Weak and Underprivileged Classes (Social Castes), Residents of Areas adjoining Actual Line of Control and Residents of Backward Areas. However, there is an income bar/ceiling for availing this reservation. The objective of prescribing the income ceiling in the Act is to prevent such persons, as have crossed or shall cross the threshold level of backwardness commonly known as ‘Creamy Layer’ from availing benefits of reservation under the categories of Socially and Educationally Backward Classes.
The ceiling income which existed at Rs 3 lakh earlier was raised to Rs 4 lakh in September, 2012.
The demand for raising the limit of income ceiling has been repeatedly raised by the Members of the backward classes through the State Advisory Board for the welfare and development of other classes and other associations. With a view to examine the enhancement in the income ceiling, a four Member Committee was constituted by the government which recommended enhancement of the income ceiling from Rs 4.5 Lakh to Rs 8 Lakh.
The SAC decision will immensely benefit large population belonging to Socially and Educationally Backward Classes for their inclusion within the ambit of reservation to reap various benefits available under the said Act/Rules.
It also accorded sanction to the creation of 675 posts of nursing staff for the newly created Government Medical Colleges at Anantnag, Baramulla, Doda, Kathua& Rajouri.
As per the Medical Council of India (MCI) norms, nursing staff strength of 175 posts is required during first year of establishment of a new Medical College. However, the existing strength of nursing staff in the District Hospitals, deployed in new medical colleges to serve as Associated Hospital of the Medical Colleges are not sufficient to meet the MCI requirement. Accordingly, a need to create 675 posts of nursing staff has been felt to fulfill the MCI requirement.
Once the requirements of MCI are fulfilled, the Health and Medical Education Department shall approach the MCI for final inspection of these five new medical colleges and issuance of Letter of Permission (LoP) to start the 1st batch of MBBS course in these medical colleges.
With the start of five new Medical Colleges in the J&K State, the intake capacity of students for MBBS course shall increase substantially with corresponding increase in number of trained medical professionals every passing year.
The SAC also approved the proposal of the Housing & Urban Development Department for Implementation of the project namely “Pollution Abatement of River Devika and River Tawi at Udhampur Town ” under the National River Conservation Plan (NRCP).
The project will be executed at an estimated cost of Rs. 186.74 Crore based on 90:10 funding pattern between the Government of India and the State. Both the rivers are considered sacred by the people; however, pollution levels and silt deposition over the years have increased.
The project inter-alia includes construction of 3 Sewage Treatment Plants of 8 MLD, 4 MLD and 1.6 MLD capacity, complete Sewerage Network of 129.27 Km, development of 2 Cremation Ghats on North and South side, development of 2 Veding Ghats, protection fencing and landscaping, small scale Hydro Power Plants and 3 Solar Power Plants.
The Urban Environmental Engineering Department would be the main authority for project implementation, operation and maintenance of the project.
The SAC also directed the Housing and Urban Development Department to devise ways and means of restoring the water flow in the river Devika to an optimum level so that the river can perform its natural functions.