|A new chapter was
added to the Tihar Central Jail when a 30 bed drug de-addiction centre sponsored by the Indian
Council of Education was inaugurated today by the Union Minister for Welfare Mr Sita Ram Kesri.
Going round Tihar Jail No. 4 where the Ashiana centre is
located was a revealing experience. The Minister stopped in front of a patient and asked him what
crime he had commited, he replied he had been caught with smack.
The Minister asked him whether he realized that drug
abuse was an offence or not. The patient thought for a while and slowly said, No. As
the accompanying guests told the Minister that these people did not even realise drug peddling was
an offence the social workers came to grip with the enormity of the problem.
Mr Kesri went around the de-addiction centre. He met two
jail inmates who had been drug peddlars a few years back and who were now changed men, in charge
of preparing food for the entire prisoners. That brought to light another facet the success
story of Ashiana.
The Minister devoted a large part of his speech to the failure on part of
society in spreading the message of de-addiction even as Gandhiji had given a clarion call for
taking people away from any sort of social abuse 60 years back. He said as a nation we have failed
in curbing the menace.
But Mr Kesri was not totally pessimistic.
saw light at the end of the tunnel, about the sad fact that corruption in all echelons of society
had totally weakened the systems inherent capacity to absorb such social
shocks. He said that Tihar Jail should be looked upon as Sudhar Grah and not a
prison house as it is generally called.
The Home Sectretary Ms Prabha Karan also outlined the
steps being taken by the administration to augment infrastructural facilities at Tihar Jail. She
said two more jails would be added in the near future and as a welfare measure, gratuity allowance
had been doubled for the prisoners.
The UNDCP representative, Mr Hidehiko Takahashi presented
a video van to the Indian Council for Education and extended all help for creating awareness
generation and community participation in tackling drug abuse.
Presenting the annual report of the Ashiana de-addiction
centre, Dr Promila Srivastava said the centre was working towards the treatment and counselling of
drug addicts in jail for over three years.
She said during its working the therapeutic teaching at
the centre has been trying its best to help the recovering addicts to re-adjust their families and
make efforts in rebuilding its broken relationships. However individual couselling and group
therapy is held regularly.
The Chief Secretary Mr R.K Takkar praised the jail
authorities for their pioneering work towards the prevention of drug abuse and hoped they would
continue their good work in future also.