Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Narcotics- SEARCHING FOR TRUTH & SOLUTIONS- About a conference held in early Dec. 2013 in Guwahati

On the headaches caused by narcotics in the North East of India



There is a fledgling think tank in Delhi called The Insttitute for Narcotics Studies and Analysis (INSA). (http://www.narcoinsa.com/)


From the 5th to the 7th of December, 2013 INSA  organised a lively conference in the charming and immense location of the Don Bosco Insititute, Kharguli Hills, Guwahati, Assam.
(There were many windows like this one in the Hall and eyes would often stray to the fascinating view)

(A wing of the Don Bosco Institute, Kharguli Hills, Guwahati, Assam)

(Another wing with a hint of a view)
The Key Note Address was made by Mr. Najib Shah, Director General, Revenue Intelligence, who while urging reforms reminded that enforcement is a key instrument of controlling proliferation of drugs. The Conference was Inaugurated by Lt. General Nirbay Sharma (Retd.), The Governor of Arunachal Pradesh by lighting the Lamp of Awareness.
followed by Mr. Najib Shah, Director General, Revenue Intelligence.

The Governor expressed his anguish about the growing illicit cultivation of opium in Arunachal and the concomitant addiction to opiates.

(The Governor of Arunachal Pradesh at left and the the director General of Revenue Intelligence at right. In between are members of INSA)
The topics and frank discussions focussed on all the possible drugs linked problems that could afflict a person, a family, a community and the state.  There were ten sessions of 90 minutes each.

Session # 1:  International and National Drug Control Mechanism
                     Speakers:
                                   Mr. Martin Jelsma of Trans National Institute, Amsterdam,
                                   Mr. Ranjan Sahoo, Dy. director General, Narcotics Control Bureau,                                                            Kolkatta.

Session # 2:    Is Law Enforcement alone sufficient to reduce drug usage?  Panel discussion.
                      Panellists:
                                     Mr. Najib Shah, Director General, Revenue Intelligence,
                                      Dr. Sandi Syiem, San_Ker Hospital, Shillong,
                                      Mr. Lal Hmun Sanga, Commissioner, Narcotics & Excise, Aizwal, Mizoram,
                                      Mr. Ranjan Sahoo, DDG, NCB, Kolkata,
                                      Prof. Dipesh Bhagabati, Head of Deptt of Psychiatry, Guwahati Medical College,
                                      Fr. Joe Pereira, Founder, Kripa Foundation, Mumbai &
                                      Dr. Nuno Capaz, Ministry of Health, Lisbon, Portugal.
Session # 3:     Narcotics & Precursors- State Wise Analysis
                        Speakers:
                                          Mr. Ranjan Sahoo, DDG, NCB, Kolkatta,
                                          Ms. Violet Baruah, Supdt. of Police, Narcotics, Guwahati, Assam,
                                          Dr. Mandeep Singh Tuli, DIG, Police, Gangtok, Sikkim
                                          Mr. Lal Hmun Sanga, Commissioner, Narcotics & Excise, Mizoram,
Session # 4:        Innovations in Drug Policy Reforms- Experiments and Experiences from other countries
                          Speakers:
                                           Dr. Nuno Capaz, Ministry of Health, Lisbon, Portugal
                                           Mr. Martin Jelsma, TNI, Amsterdam,
                                           Ms. Gloria Lai, Sr. Policy Officer, International Drug Policy Consortium,                                                      Bangkok
                                           Mr. Kham Awng, Director, Myanmar Programme, Mae Fah Luang Foundation                                             Branch in Yangon.
Session # 5:            Is Containment possible? Panel discussion on drug use reasons, prevention,                                          treatment and rehabilitation...
                              Panellists:  
                                                 Fr. Joe Pereira, Founder, Kripa Foundation, Mumbai,
                                                 Prof. Dipesh Bhagabati, HOD, Psychiatry, GMCH,
                                                 Mr. Dineshwar Hijam Singh, Activist, Imphal, Manipur,
                                                 Dr. Rose, HIV/TB Consultant, Nagaland State Aids Control Society and                                                       also an Opioid Substitution Expert.

  (The Tea Pavillion where we used to repair after nearly every intense session)
Session # 6:               Drug Demand Reduction Strategies, Treatment Facilities and Problem of Drug                                    Related  HIV in the North East:
                                  Speakers:
                                                   Dr.(Ms.)Yene Nabam, Psychologist, Government Hospital, Itanagar,
                                                   Mr. Gaidon Tamang, Project Director, Sikkim Rehab Centre, Gangtok,
                                                   Mr. Tia Akum, Prodigal's Home, Dimapur, Nagaland,
                                                   Mr. Dineshwar Hijam Singh, Activist, Imphal,
                                                   Mr. Abou Mere, Director, Kripa Foundation, Dimapur, & Advisor,                                                              Nagaland Users Network,
                                                   Mr. Hkam Awng, Mae Fah Luang Foundation, Myanmar who spoke                                                            about similar problems in neighbouring Myanmar.
Session # 7:                    Illicit opium cultivation in the North East of India- An Assessment
                                       (Presentations on behalf of NCB, CBN, Police, cultivator and affected)
                                       Speakers:
                                       Mr. Ranjan Sahoo, DDG, NCB, Kolkatta,
                                       Mr. D. Banerjee, Supdt., Central Bureau of Narcotics, Kolkatta Regional Unit,
                                       Mr. V. Shinde, Principal Secretary to the Governor of Arunachal Pradesh,                                                    Itanagar.
                                       Mr. Gosailum Kri, Cultivator's representative, Anjaw Distt., Arunachal,
                                       Mr. Anijke Menjaw, a concerned civilian about the increase of opium use in                                                  Roing, his district in Arunachal Pradesh,
                                        Ms. Rakhi Linggi, Roing,
                                       Mr. Hkam Awng, Yangon who spoke about similar cultivation problems in                                                    Myanmar.

Session # 8:                     Alternative Development- Concept & Evaluation
                                       Speakers:
                                                        Mr. Martin Jelsma, TNI, Amsterdam,
                                                        Mr. Ranjan Sahoo, DDG, NCB, Kolkatta,
                                                        Mr. Gosailum Kri, Cltvtrs Rep.,
                                                        Ms. Rekhilu Marap, Cltvtrs Rep.,
                                                        Mr. Hkam Awng, Yangon,
                                                        Mr. Romesh Bhattacharji, Member, INSA.
Session # 9:                          Illicit Opium Cultivation - Reasons & Effects-  Panel Discussion
                                                     
                                               Panellists:
                                                              Mr. Ranjan Sahoo, DDG, NCB, Kolkatta,
                                                              Mr. D. Banerjee, Supdt., CBN, Kolkatta,
                                                              Mr. Resina Mihu, Roing,
                                                              Mr. Raju Mimi, Journalist, Roing,
                                                              Ms. Sunila Linggi,   Roing,
                                                              Mr. Gosailum Kri, Opium Cltvtrs Rep, Anjaw,
                                                              Mr. Anjite Menjao, Zila Parishad Member, Ambalu-Jo Foundation,                                                                 Roing, Lower Debang Valley, Arunachal.
   (Participants from Roing Distt.. that till five years ago was opium free and now has opium users in most families)
Session # 10:                            Relevance of Current Drug Control Strategies

                                                 Speakers:
                                                                Mr. Devendra Dutt, Member, INSA,
                                                                Ms. Gloria Lai, Sr. Policy Officer, IDPC, Bangkok,
                                                                Mr. Jenpu Rongmei, President, Young's Club, Dimapur,                                                                               Nagaland,
                                                                Dr. (Ms) Yeni Nabam, Psychologist, Government Hospital,                                                                         Itanagar, Arunachal Pradesh,
                                                                Dr. Nuno Capaz, Ministry of Health, Lisbon, Portugal,
                                                                Mr. Tapan Satpathy, Under Secretary, Narcotics Control,                                                                           Ministry of Finance, Deptt. of Revenue, North Block, New Delhi

(Before the closing session began nearly all the participants and gathered for a happy group photograph).

 The Closing Session started with a review by Mr. Mandeep Singh Tuli, DIG, Police, Sikkim Police.


 It was followed by a concises but detailed and emotive report on all the sessions given by Mr. Jogendra Singh, Member, INSA. His summation will be placed here as soon as it is ready. 
(In the Centre is Ms. Ananya Ray, Chief Commissioner of Custom, North East Region, flanked by Mr. Joginder Singh to the left and Mr. Dalbir Singh to the right. Both are members of INSA)
The last word beonged to Ms. Ananya Ray, Chief Commissioner of Customs, North East Region and based in Shillong. She talked of her travels to the distant corners of the North East and finding drug problems every where.

Our conference would not have been possible

(a) without the funds sanctioned by the Ministry of Finance for this Conference,



(b) without the whole hearted help given by the dynamic Dy. Commissioner of Customs, Guwahati Ms. Temsunaro Jamir, her juniors, of Mr. BB Mahapatra, Commissioner Central Excise and his officers, and their considerate super boss Ms. Ananya Ray,

and

(c) without the support of the twelve energetic and considerate volunteers from amongst the students of Don Bosco Institute. They were everywhere and never missed an opportunity to guide and help.
 .  (In the blue saree is the youngest member of INSA- Ms. Kawaldeep Kour from Guwahati. She worked tirelessly before and during the Conference. She also brought down the average age of INSA Members to a shade below 60!)

                   

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