The Himachal Pradesh Assembly has passed a resolution calling on the Union government to strengthen the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act of 1985. The resolution, proposed by Deputy Chief Minister Mukesh Agnihotri, aims to combat drug-related offenses and create a zero-tolerance policy towards drug use in the state.
The resolution recommends amending Section 37 of the NDPS Act, proposing a minimum sentence of 10-12 years in jail and a fine of Rs 5 lakh for drug-related offenses. It also calls for life imprisonment for drug trafficking syndicates and the confiscation of any property earned through the drug trade. Additionally, the resolution proposes the formation of committees to raise awareness about drug addiction.
Agnihotri stressed the need for the state to become drug-free and urged members of the assembly not to use their influence to interfere in drug-related cases. He informed the House that 530 cases had been registered under the NDPS Act and 728 people had been arrested in the state until February 28, 2023. Agnihotri said that the use of heroin, locally known as “chitta,” is a major problem affecting the younger generations of the state.
Last month, Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu announced the formation of an advisory board under the Prevention of Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act to combat drug trafficking in the state. The government will also establish a special task force to break drug supply chains.
The NDPS Act imposes varying sentences for offenses related to the manufacturing, supply, and possession of drugs, with a maximum penalty of 20 years in jail and a fine of up to Rs 1 lakh. Section 37 of the Act allows for bail if the court is satisfied that the accused is not guilty of the offense and is unlikely to commit any further offenses while on bail.