The Social Welfare Department has failed to comply with the guidelines for private de-addiction centres during the inspection visit, the Drug Users Federation for Human Rights and Justice (DUFHRJ) said and demanded to halt the ongoing inspection visit until the loopholes are solved.
Addressing the media on Sunday at the office of the Community Network of Empowerment, Keishampat Imphal West, DUFHRJ advisor RK Nalinikanta said that state specific regulatory guidelines for non-funded de-addiction centres had become a state gazette on September 6, 2022.
The main purpose of the guidelines is to prevent gross human rights violation carried out against drug abusers in de-addiction centres, he added.
He said the Social Welfare department had started inspection visits in the centres for the issuance of registration to the centres, asking questions as a deciding factor to issue the registration. However, they did not ask any questions related to human rights violation during their visit, he alleged.
He explained that according to the norm of the guidelines, the registration has to be issued to the centre based on the mark given by the department in the inspection visit.
The inspection carried out under the leadership of district social welfare officer provided a set of questionnaires to the de-addiction centres and that any centres getting above 70 marks will get registration while those centres securing between 50-70 marks will be given a temporary registration for six months and the registration will not be issued to a centre which gets less than 50 marks, he informed.
The guidelines clearly mention the deduction of 20 marks to centres who had a record of human right violations, illegal activities and forceful confinement of inmates. It also says that registration will not be provided to any centres if they find any convict working as a staff in that particular centre.
Any drug abuser cannot be admitted arbitrarily by the police, local Meira Paibis or clubs to centres without taking consent of the patient in front of a police officer not lesser than the rank of DSP or district magistrate. But the authorities concerned did not ask any questions related to these norms, instead focusing only on technical questions, he added.
He said that according to the guidelines, people who are working in the field of drugs and community representatives should also take part in the inspection visit.
The concerned authorities didn’t invite any community representative, rather they selected in a pick and choose method, he added.
He also said that according to this guideline, a state level training institute has to be established by the Social Welfare department to train staff of the centres. Before its establishment, training has to be provided by a centre which is recognised by the central or state government. But before taking up any such activities, they directly asked whether the de-addiction centre got training or not, he alleged.
Nalikanta said that if the concerned authorities continue to behave in such a manner, the objective of the guidelines will not be achieved. As such, the state government should find out the loopholes and continue the inspection, he said.