As an initial step to formulate state-specific guidelines for private de-addiction centres operating in the state, an 11-member committee has been formed by the Department of Social Welfare, Manipur following an order of the Manipur High Court.
The Imphal Free Press had been highlighting in its reports the need for a state-specific guidelines for private de-addiction centres as pointed out by several experts and demanded by rehab centres. The Imphal Free Press had also pointed out that it is high time the government act. Read: Rehab - A booming Business. Barely a day after this editorial was published, the government announced the setting up of the committee.
Considering the need of regulation in ever increasing de-addiction centres due to rampant gross human violation, the state government had issued an order for implementation of Prevention of Alcoholism and Substance (Drug) Abuse 2009 formulated by the Union Social Justice and Empowerment Ministry.
Most of the de-addiction centres declined the said order and even filed Public Interest Litigation seeking support to implement state-oriented guidelines. Responding to it, the High Court of Manipur had issued an order on April 11 asking to frame the said guidelines within three months.
Following the direction of the court, the Department of Social Welfare had formed a committee on May 26 in which its director, Ngangom Uttam Singh, is the chairman of the committee. In the committee, representatives from various sectors, namely, police department, legal service, psychiatry, de-addiction centres, NGOs and centrally sponsored rehabilitation centres were present.
Interacting with the Imphal Free Press, social welfare director Ngangom Uttam Singh said that necessary steps have been taken up to formulate the state specific guidelines of private de-addiction centres. First round of meetings has already been conducted and a committee formed, the director informed.
The next meeting of the committee is scheduled to be held on June 16 where a thorough discussion will be held touching all necessary areas or points. If the committee is able to take a unanimous resolution in the second meeting, a public meeting will be convened very soon to place the resolution in public domain and then take public opinion and feedback. After this, the drafted guidelines will be submitted to the committee of the state government, he added.
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He further said that there are only 27 centrally sponsored de-addiction and rehabilitation centres in Manipur. With the continuous increase of people using drugs and other intoxicating items, these de-addiction centres are not sufficient. As such, the setting up of private de-addiction centres in the state is much needed. Nowadays many private de-addiction centres are set up in the state and even reach to nearly 90. But so far only three de-addiction centres had approached his department for registration, the director of the social welfare department said.
Had the authorities of all private de-addiction centres followed basic standard protocols in treatment centres, incidents of torture or ill-treatment would not occur, he added while appealing to the private de-addiction centres to extend their service with sense of humanity. “I am not saying all private de-addiction centres are bad. There are also many de-addiction centres doing yeoman service in bringing many drug abusers into normal life”, he said.
He also appealed to the parents and guardians to enquire and investigate the conditions of private de-addiction centres before keeping their wards for treatment. This will also help to curtail incidents of gross human rights violation in the centres, he said.