Introduction to Blog

I launched the website and the Blog after having spoken to government officials, political analysts and security experts specializing in South Asian affairs from three continents. The feedback was uniformly consistent. The bottom line is that when Kashmiris are suffering and the world has its own set of priorities, we need to find ways to help each other. We must be realistic, go beyond polemics and demagoguery, and propose innovative ideas that will bring peace, justice and prosperity in all of Jammu and Kashmir.

The author had two reasons to create this blog. First, it was to address the question that was being asked repeatedly, especially, by journalists and other observers in the U.S., U.K., and Canada, inquiring whether the Kashmiri society was concerned about social, cultural and environmental challenges in the valley given that only political upheaval and violence were reported or highlighted by media.

Second, the author has covered the entire spectrum of societal issues and challenges facing Kashmiri people over an 8-year period with the exception of politics given that politics gets all the exposure at the expense of REAL CHALLENGES that will likely result in irreversible degradation in the quality of life and the standard of living for future generations of Kashmiris to come.

The author stopped adding additional material to the Blog once it was felt that most, if not all, concerns, challenges and issues facing the Kashmiri society are cataloged in the Blog. There are over 1900 entries in the Blog and most commentaries include short biographical sketches of authors to bring readers close to the essence of Kashmir. Unfortunately, the 8-year assessment also indicates that neither Kashmiri civil society, nor intellectuals or political leadership have any inclination or enthusiasm in pursuing issues that do not coincide with their vested political agendas. What it means for the future of Kashmiri children and their children is unfathomable. But the evidence is all laid out.

This Blog is a reality check on Kashmir. It is a historical record of how Kashmir lost its way.

Vijay Sazawal, Ph.D.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Bidiversity and Biophysical Changes in Kashmir's Environment

Professor Kak, working deep in anthropogenic activities (impact of humans/air pollution on biodiversity and ecology) in Kashmir brings yet another environmental challenge to the fore

(Dr. Abdul Majeed Kak, 62, was born and in Nowhatta, Srinagar. He received his primary education from the Government Middle School in Nowhatta and his secondary school education from Bagi Dilawar Khan Higher Secondary School in Fateh Kadal. He completed his college education at the Islamia College of Science and Commerce in Srinagar. In 1977 he was the first candidate from the University of Kashmir to be selected by the University Grants Commission (UGC) of the Government of India for a doctoral research scholarship at the university leading to a Ph.D. in Botany in 1980. He is currently the Research Coordinator in the Department of Botany at the Islamia College of Science and Commerce in Srinagar. Dr. Kak has over 35 years of teaching experience and research experience of over 25 years. He has received numerous research awards resulting in publication of 70 research papers and has authored two books on Botany. He completed a novelty ethno-botanical museum with about 600 antique and extinct wooden artifacts of Kashmir that has been created in the Islamia College of Science and Commerce (ICSC), a project supported by a grant from the Ministry of Culture, New Delhi. Presently the Ministry of Environment and Foresta of the Government of India, New Delhi, has awarded him a major prestigious research project along with a team of four highly qualified scholars that are working on the impact of anthropogenic activities on Himalayan lakes.)

Another Deadly Invasion Alligator Grass, a Dreadful Noxious Weed Attacks Dal Lake

Alligator grass, aquatic weed also referred as pig weed is a Perennial, floating emergent, noxious invasive weed, has recently invaded our famous fresh water bodies. Although subtropical weed supposed to be native of S. America has infiltrated our lakes just some years before has started causing serious threat, like many other noxious invasive. Azolla, a water fern that was reported in the year 2004 for the first time in all our freshwater lakes has unrecordedly deteriorated the essence, charm, water quality and upgraded eutrophication, beside completely wiped many of our medicinal and highly nutritional aquatic weeds also lot many underwater life forms, from our lakes. Since that time also hue and cry was raised to eradicate this noxious weed being a great threat to our water bodies instead concerned authorities paid deaf ear to our reporting and suggestions with the result proliferation of Azolla is out of control as it has chocked every nock and corner of all our precious lakes by forming thick carpets everywhere in every lake. Nominal surface removal for few days or rare downpour is never remedial measure to control multiplication of the weed because the plant has high power of regeneration; every broken piece regenerates into a adult plant. It has spread in all valley lakes including far flung rural Manasbal Lake and Wular lakes. Thick layers are recorded in Nageen, Dal, Hokher sar Anchar. caused a lot of deterioration to our world famous lakes and are out of control to eradicate or check.

Periodical visits made to monitor deteriorated conditions of all lakes of the valley by collecting water samples and to record the impact of various anthropogenic activities on aquatic vegetation. It was noticed that one more worsen invasive noxious weed has infiltrated in almost in all our lakes, commonly called Alligator grass and Scientifically named as Alternathera philoxeroides. This weed grows healthy in high-nutrient (eutrophic) conditions that obviously indicate that our lakes have turned highly nutritious. This species was reported for the first time in Wular Lake in the year 2008 but in dispersed form, has now spread in all fresh water lakes in thick mats, in such a short period of time, particularly in Dal Lake and in all its tributaries channels. Now the weed has started forming thick mats, large and extensive rafts floating on surface of water with emergent body in deep waters near shallow waters or lake margins it remains attached to the lake substratum.

Considered one of the worst aquatic weed in the world as it becomes serious threat to the fresh water bodies. It grows in dense mats with massive underground rhizomatous root system. It obstructs waterways, hinders navigation, increases pollution and wipes all native plants by over shading them.

Ultimately under water life both flora and fauna get completely destroyed. It has been internationally established that the weed cannot be eradicated once it has infested in any water body, despite numerous costly attempts. So in many countries attempts have been made to eradicate it soon it starts infestation in any water body. There is no evident biological control for the weed, even certain permissible chemicals have been applied but none has remained successful.

Mechanical removal without care facilitates its proliferation and spread enormously. Stolens can regenerate from burial to 30 cm deep. Alligator grass bears prominent white flowers which are bisexual but viable seeds are not produced. So reproduction is entirely vegetative by bearing vegetative buds in the submerged stems propagate enormously and is very difficult to control its proliferation physically. The weed is worldwide in distribution. In India it is reported from Assam, Bihar, West Bengal, Tripura, Manipur, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, even in Delhi and Punjab. It grows even in marshy boggy place and tolerates all abnormal weather conditions.

Recently it has been established that, Alligator grass is considered to be one of the worst aquatic weeds in the world. It has the potential to become a serious threat to waterways, agriculture and the environment. "The Commonwealth of Australia States that, "Alligator weed disrupts the aquatic environments by blanketing the surface of the water impeding penetration of light and gaseous exchange (sometimes leading to anaerobic conditions) resulting adverse affects on flora and fauna. It also Promotes health problems by providing habitats for mosquitoes and other stoning insects and degrade natural aesthetics." Control of this species has proven to be an expensive and complicated ordeal wherever it has established. It is also stated that, Alligator grass has been very rarely successfully eradicated. Once it infestes any water body it is very difficult to eradicate, despite numerous costly attempts. For this reason, the highest priority for the management of alligator weed is an effective system of early detection and eradication before infestations become established. This noxious weed reproduces entirely by vegetative means and relies on the production of nodal buds on stems. Each node has two axillary buds. Also thicker roots and underground stems are capable of proliferation. Spreading is by fragmentation.

Alligator grass is on the Prohibited Aquatic Plant List – (5B-64.011). According to Florida Statute, “No person shall import, transport, cultivate, collect, sell, or possess any noxious aquatic plant listed on the prohibited aquatic plant list established by the department without a permit issued by the department.”

Unfortunately there is no check of such noxious weeds in our State, neither concerned officials nor lake authorities’ bothers or takes any heed of our yelling. Applying antique and out dated method of surface removal is not scientific way, instead these methods help noxious weeds to spread more rapidly. It is wished that the lake authorities will take a serious note of it and will make their research and monitoring wing functional and answerable.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Bringing Realism in the Fantasyland

Arjimand's commentary should normally start a dialogue on the role of economy in public empowerment and possibly a path to political autonomy, but in reality it will be ignored just like other harsh realities surrounding Kashmir

(Mr. Arjimand Hussain Talib, 38, is from Srinagar and matriculated from Tyndale Biscoe Memorial School in 1991. He subsequently graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Engineering from Bangalore University. He is also an alumni of the International Academy for Leadership, Gummerbach, Germany. Arjimand writes regular weekly columns for the Greater Kashmir and The Kashmir Times since 2000 on diverse issues of political economy, development, environment and social change and has over 450 published articles to his credit. His books include: " Kashmir: Towards a New Political Economy", and "Water: Spark for another Indo-Pak War?". Arjimand is a consultant in international development, and a contributing editor with Greater Kashmir.)

Begging Bowl Syndrome: Who Bells the Cat?

Chief Minister Omar Abdullah talked some frank economics on Thursday at Tangmarg. While emphasising the need for economic self reliance of Jammu & Kashmir, he advocated revenue generation investment. Candidly enough, he said tourism would not fetch the state the much-needed revenue, even though private entities do get some benefits. In veiled words, he also warned of a possible time when the state may not have even the money to pay salaries to its employees.

Omar also said that he seems uncomfortable almost begging for funds from the central government every year. To him this dependence is supposed to go.

So far so good. But the moot question is: how would this economic dependence actually go? It is a profoundly political question if J&K’s this growing dependence is as a consequence of its intrinsic economic weakness or it is a manufactured one.

Good intent alone does not deliver the desired results. In recent years, National Conference has seldom articulated an economic vision that would seek to address this dependency syndrome. Its political mobilisation and campaign has barely reflected a strategic course that will address this issue.

It is possible that the National Conference does not wish to make the agenda of economic self-sufficiency a formal political manifesto. Beyond the National Conference, this question is relevant to People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Sajjad Lone-led People’s Conference (PC) and other parties as well. What do these parties actually plan to do to end this growing dependence? And a more immediate one: what vision will these parties unveil facing the electorate in 2014?

In recent years, all the three parties have articulated the need for the control and management of the state’s water and power resources by the state itself. These are the only three parties that have articulated their economic visions in their political vision documents as part of the final resolution of J&K issue. However, there is a dearth of a comprehensive economic agenda dictated by the needs and the challenges of the present times. So will these parties be able to chart an economic agenda for 2014 elections derived from their political visions? National Conference has not produced any economic vision for the state meeting the needs of the present times since its path-breaking Naya Kashmir Manifesto. The challenge with the Naya Kashmir Manifesto is that it is heavily socialist in its outlook and that some of those visions for economic and social development do not quite meet the requirements of the present times. But some aspects do provide some space for adaptation.

Let us take the Article 23 of the manifesto, for instance, which provides for “a planned economy for ensuring rapid economic growth and social justice.” This Article also exhorts the goal of self-sufficiency and enhanced state income. Will National Conference be able to adapt that vision to the present times?

Some other visions of this Manifesto, like the Article 24, which calls for nationalising heavy industries, sounds outdated. National Conference must embrace a vision where it has to be seen as a facilitator for the private sector to participate in all spheres of economic activity.

Similarly, the Article 32, which sees public, private and cooperative sectors as distinct, and often mutually exclusive, is a redundant idea because it calls for preference for the public and cooperative sectors. In today’s times the state cannot think of economic self reliance without making the private sector the front runner in running the state’s economic activities.

National Conference would also need to revisit the Article 37 of its political vision, which has preferred nationalisation of goods and passenger transportation of the state’s major routes.

In sharp contrast, PDP’s Self Rule Vision and Sajjad Lone’s Achievable Nationhood both look more in sync with the needs of the contemporary times. What, however, remains to be seen is how these two parties will be able to chart an economic agenda or 2014 as derived from their larger political visions enshrined in their vision documents.

For instance, PDP’s Self Rule envisages the establishment of a “common economic space” through a Preferential Trade Agreement within the geographical boundaries of Greater Jammu & Kashmir. Self Rule’s second vision is making Greater Jammu & Kashmir a free trade area, which it plans to term as “Regional Free Trade Area”. It also seeks an agreement to eliminate tariffs between the two pats of J&K while they maintain their own external tariff on imports from the rest of the world, including India and Pakistan. PDP is also interested in an elaborate regime for the “rules of origin” for trade between the two sides.

How PDP adapts this grand vision to the cross-LoC trade will be an area of interest for the 2014 elections. It will also be interesting to see how this expanded cross-LoC trade will help enhancing the state’s overall revenue. Although the Self Rule vision also proposes co-circulation of both Indian and Pakistani currencies, that idea may not fit in the requirements of 2014.

Sajjad Lone’s Achievable Nationhood shares a lot of commonality with PDP’s Self Rule vision. But, again, its larger vision for J&K’s final resolution will have to adapt to the needs of 2014. People’s Conference will have to demonstrate how it will translate its vision for reducing the state’s economic dependency.

While Achievable Nationhood in its vision for the “new state of affairs” considers an economic union of the two parts of J&K, it will also have to elaborate how it will approach the present cross-LoC trade for creating what it calls a separate customs territory with free movement of goods, services, capital and labour between the two parts. It will also have to demonstrate, as a beginning, how it will consider removing “internal trade barriers and the harmonisation of the external trade barriers”, as what Achievable Nationhood actually contemplates.

PDP’s Self Rule vision contemplates relegation of some fiscal spending responsibilities in J&K on some supra-national agency, but the question is: would 2014 be the right time to imagine its merits?

People’s Conference, on the other hand, identifies the elements for such a scheme by recommending joint development of banking and insurance sector, common banking norms and regulations, harmonised fiscal policy, cooperation in investment, joint exploration of natural resources and energy sector. But will all these ideas make sense in 2014. If not, how best can these two parties adapt these ideas to the needs of the present times?

It is true that these larger visions of these three parties basically identify the contours of a final resolution of J&K issue. But a question for 2014 will be relevant: without the necessary economic breathing space, would it be prudent for them to wait for the final resolution for making their ideas to work or they will adapt to end this politically crippling dependence?

Friday, July 5, 2013

This Social Disease Can Be Eradicated

Bashir is convinced that Kashmir can recover its social and moral health if corruption was brought under control

(Mr. Bashir A. Bashir, 62, was born in Srinagar. He passed his higher secondary schooling from Baghidilawar Khan, and graduated from the Gandhi Memorial College Srinagar. Mr. Bashir completed his Law Graduation from the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) in Urdu. and received his M.A in Political Science from the University of Kashmir. He joined the Bar in 1973 and was appointed as Additional Advocate General of the J&K in 1984 till 1986. He is a practicing advocate of J&K High Court and has been recently designated as the Senior Advocate by the Hon'ble High Court of J&K.)

When Pruning is a Must

All organs of the state are infected with all kinds of corrupt elements. Corruption is eating into the vitals of the society. Moral values have taken a severe battering. The valley, once known as abode of saints and rishis, is losing that glory now.

More we hear the cries against this dangerous disease of corruption, more it is taking roots as if the phenomenon is getting social recognition. Consequently there is no result orientated action by way of punishment against corrupt people. I have no hesitation in saying that the judicial system of India has also failed to deliver in this regard the way it should have delivered because of undue delays in dispensation of justice for whatever reasons. The net result is the society by and large continues to suffer particularly those who do not belong to the affluent class of the society.

Law of nature dictates certain vital rules for betterment and protection which should be followed as and when needed. For instance pruning of the trees is very important for there healthy growth or amputation of a diseased organ in a human body is must to save the remaining body from infection which may lead to death otherwise. Likewise weeding out the corrupt is very vital for the proper and healthy survival of the society at large but how this goal can be achieved is the basic question. Honble Supreme Court while deliberating in different cases of compulsory retirement has coined a word called as "DEAD WOOD"to get rid of corrupt and undesirable elements in the services before they reach the actual age of superannuation and the competent authority has been held entitled to do so on subjective satisfaction after taking the service record of the official concerned into consideration in an objective manner. Though this is not the hundred percent guaranteed method of eradicating corruption but nevertheless it sends the signal to the corrupt elements that they can face the brunt without any excuse to avoid it if the competent authority wants to do it. Again this step can be taken only when the official concerned has either reached age of 48 years or has service of 22 years at his back as per our State laws. It means in case of less than that age or service he can not be compulsorily retired even if he is a known corrupt person or dead wood to be called by that name which includes within its meaning inefficient also. Best course would have been to amend the law and keep this option available to competent authority from five years of service only to be exercised at any time so that officials would always feel they can be shown the door if found undesirable.

Recently Hon'ble High Court in its best wisdom has taken the decision of compulsorily retiring three senior judicial officers of District & Sessions Judges rank which news item appeared in GK. I can't comment upon the merits on which this decision was taken nor do I comment in any way upon their individual conduct or performance. But the point I wish to bring home by this instance is that why should not the executive take the lead or lesson from this decision taken by the Honble high court to initiate and weed out corrupt officials (unless they have the constraint of having non honest available) and check the situation from slipping from bad to worst. Details of rampant corruption pouring out daily from the Seat of governance are shocking. The conscience of common man seems to have been deeply hurt because corruption is bound to infect every organ of the society. That is why every day scandals after scandal be it spurious drugs supply, fake appointments, fraudulent withdrawal of bills, etc is surfacing leaving a lasting impression that nothing is going to happen to improve the situation.

I would Sincerely wish the authorities that be to start process of pruning. That alone can save us from further mess.

Drug Abuse Among Kashmiris

Afsana presents a topical status of the growing drug problem among Kashmiri youth and how the government is addressing the issue. This article is part of Indo Global Social Service Society's (IGSSS) second Media Fellowship Programme in Jammu and Kashmir under its project “Youth Action for Peace”

(Ms. Afsana Rashid, 32, was born and raised in Srinagar and attended the Minto Circle High School. She graduated from the Government College for Women with a Bachelor's degree in science, and completed her post-graduation degree from the University of Kashmir, obtaining her Master's Degree in Mass Communication and Journalism. She has received numerous world-wide recognition and awards for covering economic depravation and gender sensitive issues in Kashmiri journals, which include Sanjoy Ghose Humanitarian Award, Bhorukha Trust Media Award 2007, and the 2006-07 UNFPA-Ladli Media Award. Her work on "Impact of conflict on subsistence livelihood of marginalised communities in Kashmir and Alternatives", was recognized by Action Aid India in 2005-06. She has travelled abroad attending a workshop on "conflict Reporting" by Thomson Foundation, Cardiff, UK, and a seminar for women in conflict areas by IKV Pax Christi, Netherlands. In February, 2008, she compiled a book, "Waiting for Justice: Widows and Half-widows." She has been a valley based correspondent for various local and national journals.)

Drug Abuse - a Challenge to Society

Drug abuse in Kashmir is a glaring socio-cultural, religious and medical problemconfronting the contemporary society. It is a growing concern that needs immediate attention by one and all. “Substance abuse, emerging as medical, social and health problems of immense consequences is very common in Kashmir. Because it is not only a disease of person who is afflicted, but it is a disease of family, disease of neighborhood and disease of society. It involves all. This is a huge problem which is already in epidemic proportions,” says Dr. Arshid Hussain, valley’s renowned psychiatrist at Government Psychiatric Disease Hospital, Kashmir.

He said there is more of cannabis use again. “Cannabis is again taking a centre-stage, though for a long time opioids took a centre-stage. Medicinal opioids are continuously being used. Alcohol is also increasing.”

The psychiatrist states that the trend world over is that substance abuse is more common in urban areas and underprivileged and is hugely associated with other mental health issues, whereas in Kashmir, the trend is different. “It is common not only among this population but in rural population as well.”

Dr. Hussain, who also works as Assistant Professor, department of Psychiatry, Government Medical College Srinagar,points out multiple reasons that lead to drug-addiction. He said influence by peer-group is one of the major contributing factors for the menace.

“Substance use spreads by sheer peer pressure. It is the only mental health problem, which is contagious. If one student in the school is a drug-addict, all others are at risk.” He adds there was absolutely no education available to children that it is harmful.

Explaining further, the psychiatrist says absence of other modes of recreation and enjoyment, conflict and its easy availability are other contributing factors that lead to drug-addiction. “I seriously believe sports as well as outdoor activities can play a major role in curbing drug-addiction among youth whereas its easy availability plays a major role in its spread.”

Dr. Hussain admits that statistics about drug-addicts during conflict in Kashmir can’t be traced. “We just can’t trace it and can’t say what would have happened in absence of conflict.” He however, adds with decline in traditional Kashmiri society, culture that acted as buffer against many such things, started breaking and number of people started abusing substances.

“When we woke up to substance abuse, we were caught unawares and there was already an epidemic going on,” says the psychiatrist, while referring to a survey conducted in south Kashmir in 2001-2002. He said the survey observed that drug-addiction was common among the age-group 18-30 and 17 percent of males had responded ‘yes’ to have taken to substances, “which is actually very high.”

He further stated that drug-addicts didn’t approach doctors till they were forced to as they end up with certain health complications. He recollects that he first saw such a patient in ward number 6 of Shri Maharaja Hari Singh (SMHS) hospital in 2000 and the patient had reported seizures, multiple times. Ultimately, he was found abusing substances.”

He shared “though such patients were already there but they didn’t easily come to doctors. The trend has changed a bit; still there are a lot of fatalities. Young people die of substance abuse, young people die of accidents because of substances and young people die of mental health because of substance abuse. 30 percent of them are institutionalized in psychiatric hospital and most of them have a history of substance abuse.”

Dr. Hussain adds, “With time they end up with medical or psychiatric emergencies and stay in hospital for life or die in accidents.”

Social taboo and stigma and lack of education prevent people from attaining timely treatment. “Due to lack of education among people, they don’t come forward for early treatment. Less percentage of population considers it as a medical problem. It has all dimensions – socio-cultural, religious and medical dimension,” he says, adding “Once we medicate it, we de-stigmatize it a bit.”

Currently, there are two functional de-addiction centres – one is police de-addiction centre and other is with Psychiatric diseases hospital. “There was a time when we had none, now we’ve two. Atleast we’ve some hope, now. Still these are in need of more facilities.”

The psychiatrist says families do cooperate as they’ve no other choice. “No comprehensive policy is in place to rehabilitate them.”

He shares usually there are high chances of recurrence, as per literature, but “here in Kashmir, recurrence rate is definitely much lesser than what is written in literature. It takes not only weeks or months but years for their treatment. Leaving one part unattended usually leads to recurrence.”

He observes there is no idea of rehabilitation. “Basically, treatment of substance user is done in four steps. Motivation where counselor, religious leaders and family has a role; followed by de-toxification process wherein de-addiction centres play their role; followed by maintenance wherein community, health system and society has a role followed by rehabilitation. We’ve done little bit in everything except rehabilitation.”

Dr. Hussain stresses drug-addiction among females is low. “As it makes good news, so we talk about it. But, actually, it is at a very low level. I am not denying that the problem is not there, but its proportion compared to males is low. Culture and religion are the reasons responsible.”

He shares till date he has seen 10 female drug-addicts compared to 7000 males. He recollects most of these drug-addicts approached him, unmotivated or when they had a serious psychiatric issue or any other complication.

“Cannabis that is grown so widely here can be abused and that is where the problem starts. Here government can play its role. But for rehabilitation purpose, non-government organizations should step-in. These are the areas where they need to pitch in.”

He adds former drug-addicts, who have been de-addicted can help to fight this menace. “It has been observed worldwide that such groups have been effective in fighting the menace. Those can be of real use here as well but there is no one yet. Besides, we need good place and human resources in de-addiction centres and need more de-addiction centres. Helplines too can be advantageous. Probably, there is one helpline. We require more and it can be useful for motivation and education, especially when they are reluctant to come over.”

Dr. Ghulam Ahmad Wani, Assistant Director, Health Kashmir and in charge Mental health, Directorate of Health Services, Kashmir says stigma is the biggest problem and is found more in urban population. “Awareness, especially what would be its complications and impact on children is important. Things are improving and patients are coming forward.”

Dr. Wani states “We are running National Mental Health Programme, which has two components - District Mental Health Programme that is carried out in district hospitals of health department and National Mental Health Programme, which is a component of Government Medical College and is related to upgradation of mental hospitals of the college.”

He informs about 30 crore rupees have been sanctioned under the programme, out of which 10 to 15 crore rupees have already been spent. He further informs the programme is being run since July 2008 and 1,20,000 patients have been treated, so far. “Out of which, eight percent have been diagnosed with substance abuse.” Dr. Wani adds there can be single or multiple substance abusers.

“About 5623 patients were treated with substance abuse in 2012 and the sub-types of substance abuse included Nicotine was found in 49 percent of patients, cannabis in 35 percent, Benzodizapines in 54 percent, alcohol in 5 percent, cocaine in 2.4 percent, pain killers in 3.3 percent, kerosene oil in 0.2 percent, ink erasers in 0.4 percent and boot polish in 0.3 percent.” He adds generally, they’ve found multiple substance abuse like nicotine, cannabis and others being done by a single person, which is known as multiple substance abuse and is found in 71 percent.

Collective data of all these years (2008 to 2012) shows that the percentage is almost same and it is infact, going up, he further adds.

Drug de-addiction centres of Directorate of Health Services are at sub-district hospital Sopore, district hospital Baramulla, sub-district hospital Khan sahib in Budgam and in district hospital Anantnag, says Dr. Wani, adding there is 30-bed de-addiction centre at Shri Maharaja Hari Singh hospital and 10-bedded de-addiction and rehabilitation centre, PCR and 15-bed Rahaat centre, Khanyar in the private sector. “There are no rehabilitation centres; they are all drug de-addiction centres except PCR.”

He observed that there should be de-addiction centre in every district and sub-district hospital. “Funds and manpower are required. Perhaps this year funds are coming and we might be recruiting people. We have sent PIP to Government of India (GOI), according to which about 26 lakh are required per district.”

Meanwhile, according to a report about drug de-addiction centre PCR, Kashmir from March 01, 2008 to December 31, 2012 total number of patient visits/follow ups is 6000, total number of patient registrations 921, total number of patients admitted/treated 416, total number of patients treated on OPD basis 505, minimum stay of an indoor patient is 21 days and maximum stay of an indoor patient is 45 days or more.

The report, while providing district wise data of patients reported to drug de-addiction centre PCR Kashmir from March 01, 2008 to February 29, 2012 says 351 patients were reported from district Srinagar during this period, followed by 105 in district Baramulla, 45 in Budgam, 41 in Anantnag, 37 in Pulwama, 24 in Jammu/outside state, 20 in Kupwara, 17 in Bandipora, Ganderbal and Kulgam, each, 16 in Shopian, 14 in Tral and one in Leh.

About occupation wise data of patients from March 01, 2008 to February 29, 2012 the report further quotes 163 were businessmen followed by 162 unemployed, 148 students, 81 drivers, 77 government employees, 37 police personals, 14 were street vendors and doctors/health workers, each and nine belonged to private jobs.