Professional - Inspector General of Prisons

Drug de-addiction centre opened in Tihar Jail

(The Hindu, 13 May 1993)

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. 
He saw light at the end of the tunnel, about the sad fact that corruption in all echelons of society had totally weakened the system’s 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.
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Inspector General of Police, Chandigarh
Special Secretary to Lt.Governor, Delhi
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