September 16, 2021

HP high Court Notice

Vijyender Sharma

SHIMLA------The High Court of Himachal Pradesh  today issued notices to the Additional Chief Secretary(Social Justice and Empowerment) and Director, Social Justice and Empowerment, on the issue of  deplorable condition of the Integrated Rehabilitation Centre for addicts, due to financial crunch. The Court directed the respondents to submit their reply within a period of two weeks.

Division Bench comprising the Acting Chief Justice Ravi Malimath and Justice Jyotsna Rewal Dua passed these orders on a petition taken up suo moto by the Court as Public Interest Litigation on a news item  published in English Daily under title " De-addiction centres battle fund crunch".

It was reported that notwithstanding the claims of the State Government to make Himachal a drug free state, the condition of the Integrated Rehabilitation Centre for Addicts(IRCA) tells a different story. While the centres, established in Kullu(women), Dharamshala, Chamba, Mandi, Sirmaur, Bilaspur and Solan are yet to be operational despite receipt of first grants,  the 15 bed centre started in  Shimla in 2019,  is facing closure as it has not received grants(over Rs.54 lakh ) from the Centre during the past two years.   The said centre is not in a position to add new patients and it has occupancy of only three.  The staff have been forced to leave due the non-payment of salaries for  one year. The centre being located in a rented building, is unable to pay rent, electricity, water, telephone and internet charges and moreover, it  has become difficult to provide medicines and food to the inmates. The  OPD and IPD facilities have also been discontinued.

It was also reported that the centre has shared its concerns with the higher authorities but no concrete step has been taken.  It was further  reported that the instances of drug addiction are on  a rise and  a total of 2,126 cases have been registered from January 1,2020 to April 30, 2021.

It was reported that there are four functional IRCAs in the State in Shimla, Kullu, Una and Hamirpur with a total capacity of 60 beds. The other three are running in full capacity but these are also facing financial constraints. 

The Court posted the matter after two weeks.

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