Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Monday launched the world’s largest anti-drug campaign with a call to educational institutions to join hands with the state government to battle the menace.The campaign has been launched by the Joint Action Committee (JAC) of unaided colleges. The Chief Minister, along with some of his cabinet colleagues and AICC secretary in-charge of Punjab Asha Kumari, also joined the JAC chairman and members on the occasion in taking the oath of make the educational campuses drug-free and educate students about the ill-effects and consequences of drugs.Speaking at the event, the Chief Minister said that with lakhs of students and employees in the various unaided colleges, their support was critical to taking the fight against drugs forward. The efforts by the police and the health department had led to shortage of drugs, causing youth to use concoctions, leading to death, said Captain Amarinder Singh, adding, however, that with more and more people realizing the dangers of drugs, they were rushing to hospitals after shunning the social stigma.Education, pushed by teachers, can play an important role in the fight against drugs, said the Chief Minister, pointing out that he had already announced his decision to cut budgets from other departments to give boost to quality education in the state.Captain Amarinder Singh urged the management of the educational institutions to involve students in the sports and extracurricular activities in order to constructively channelize their unbounded energy.
Underscoring the need to impart quality and value based education the Chief Minister asked the managements of educational institutions to focus on this aspect so as to enable youth to be gainfully employed not only within India but across the world.He also asked the JAC to organize a mass awareness campaign, especially in the rural areas, to sensitize people about the ill-effects of drugs and persuade them to bring their drug-affected children to de-addiction and rehabilitation centers. He also said that the people should deal with the addicts with love and compassion, gradually letting them overcome the feeling of social stigma.Sports and Youth Affairs Minister Rana Gurmit Singh said a new sports policy was on the anvil and it would seek to promote sports activities amongst youth right from childhood. He said that the State Government would also organize regular Youth Festivals.Earlier, Joint Action Committee chairman Ashwani Sekhri said that nearly 1600 colleges were under JAC with an enrollment of over 10 lakh students, besides having workforce of over 2000 employees. He said that a statewide anti-drug campaign would soon be launched to bring awareness amongst the masses against drug abuse.Prominent amongst other present on the occasion Health and Family Welfare Minister Brahm Mohindra, Forests Minister Sadhu Singh Dharamsot, Media Advisor to CM Raveen Thukral, Advocate General Atul Nanda and MLA Davinder Singh Ghubaya.