With its grocery store in the labyrinth of alleys in the Sikh, the village of Chananwal in the Barnala district in Punjab, Bawa Singh decided to Stop selling tobacco products after the local panchayat asked all shopkeepers to do so after an increasing number of drug abuse cases across Punjab.
Standing in his shop, which is geared towards the local population and cares for his customers, Singh says: "We do not want our young people to be caught in the death trap of drugs, because of which even the sale of all tobacco products was unanimously banned in the village. We understand that tobacco is not a narcotic, but the death of hundreds. " of Punjab youth overdosed has left its mark on us. "
Bawa Singh, Grocer
Chananwal is known for its progressive NRI population in Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom to send remittance for village development among other things.
While Chananwal had its own library, clean streets, parks, and even surveillance cameras across the village had become a major problem for security, tobacco, and alcohol. A few years ago, when women decided to take up the Panchayat issue, they forced it giving instructions to shopkeepers to stop tobacco and cigarette sales.
Chananwal's Sarpanch, Buta Singh, says that even alcohol this was sold was located within the village and moved from Panchayat to an outside area. " There have been cases where boys started consuming alcohol and we became suspicious that she was into drug abuse could. Later, tobacco products were also removed from all stores to end the threat, "he says. He stressed that the library and park were built to keep young people out of drugs.
Buta Singh (center), Sarpanch of Chananwal Village
The village set an example for others in the Malwa region (southern Punjab) that many other Panchayats followed, with several villages in the Sangrur, Mansa, Faridkot, Ludhiana and Bathinda districts selling Banned tobacco products.
In several cases, people in their villages protested against alcohol sales, even though Punjab is known for high alcohol consumption.The Punjab drug problem is unique and worsens in rural areas compared to the rest of the country , in which drug abuse is mainly reported in urban areas.
With the decline in agriculture due to excessive exploitation of soil and groundwater With increasing industrialization, crop yields in the state decreased, which led to a crisis in agriculture. This has led to a shift in work and unemployment among young people, which has led to the problem of drug abuse.
In the immediate vicinity of Pakistan, Punjab has developed into a stronghold of drug abuse in recent years. The recovery of narcotics in various parts of the state has become routine. In many parts, locals have also sent their children abroad to keep them away from drugs.
In the village of Ubha in the Mansa district, at least 60 km from Chanwal, the locals share a similar opinion and have also been banned from tobacco from the village. Locals report that some of the village's youths had once become addicted to drugs, but with the advice of elders and strict police vigilance, the drug threat has largely ended. After that, the Panchayat decided to stop selling tobacco in the village and all shops were asked to follow the instructions.
Shops in the village of Ubha have also put posters on their outer walls announcing that tobacco and cigarettes are not available.
Poster in front of a shop stating that no tobacco product from cigarettes is available.
A farmer and villager from Ubha, Sukhwinder Singh, says drug threats in the surrounding villages died two to three years ago. "People are often afraid to report family deaths from drug overdose due to social stigma. They often describe such deaths as natural and do not allow the police to carry out post-mortem. Panchayats came from villages after an increase in such deaths the scene and imposed a tobacco ban and removed alcohol sales from the village, "he says.
Even experts believe that tobacco is a gateway to drug addiction. A well-known psychiatrist from Ludhiana, Dr. Rajiv Gupta says many teenagers are starting to smoke cannabis with tobacco in cigarettes. "This tendency increases the likelihood that they will become addicted to drugs and tobacco," says Dr. Gupta.
Dr. Gupta also says that a drug addict is not a single substance user, and if he does not find an expensive narcotic, he can consume cheap alcohol that is readily available on the market, which leads him to become an alcoholic.
Punjab is one of the countries with the highest prevalence of cannabis use, according to a study by the Union's Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.
"There is considerable heterogeneity in the prevalence of alcohol consumption in the country. Countries with the high prevalence of alcohol consumption are Chhattisgarh (35.6%), Tripura (34.7%), Punjab (28.5%) , Arunachal Pradesh (28%) and Goa (28%). Over half of the male population in Chhattisgarh, Tripura and Punjab consumes alcohol, "says the study, adding that a high proportion of children who drink alcohol reports (more than three times the national average), were found in Punjab (6%), West Bengal (3.9%) and Maharashtra (3.8%).
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