The Jammu and Kashmir government is contemplating the use of satellite and drone imagery to survey the far-off areas of the state where poppy is being illegally cultivated.
“The State Level Apex Committee (SLAC) for the Prevention of Drugs Trafficking and its cultivation in the state today contemplated the use of satellite and drone imagery for the surveillance of areas where poppy is being grown,” an official spokesman said.
Near-infrared (NIR) spectroscopy and imaging are fast and nondestructive analytical techniques that provide chemical and physical information of virtually any substance.
The Apex Committee reviewed the progress in respect of steps being taken to eradicate the menace of poppy cultivation from the entire state especially the endemic districts of south Kashmir including Anantnag, Kulgam, Shopian and Pulwama and districts of Bandipora and Kupwara.
The Apex Committee instructed Divisional Commissioner Kashmir and Jammu to immediately launch a fresh survey as to the extent of land under poppy cultivation and accordingly update.
The Committee held detailed deliberations regarding the need for inter-departmental coordination to effectively deal with drug trafficking and it’s cultivation.
“It has to be an inter-departmental effort involving all stakeholders viz revenue, agriculture, excise, police, social welfare, health and education departments as well as district administration and media to effectively tackle the menace and root it out completely from the state,” the chief secretary said.
The Chief Secretary also said that strict action against those found involved in its cultivation was also needed.
He also said that Deputy Commissioners should monitor the process of destruction of poppy crop in their respective jurisdictions and to direct subordinate Revenue officials viz Patwaris, etc to identify and furnish the revenue records of those areas where such crops are cultivated.
It was also instructed that services of nambardars and chowkidars and panchayat representatives should be utilised to ensure that no illicit cultivation takes place.
Emphasis was also laid on creating awareness about drug abuse among the people through print and electronic media and simultaneously at the local level as well as at the school level among the young children and college going students.
Need for more drug de-addiction centres was also highlighted in the meeting with Chief Secretary directing the Divisional Administration, Kashmir to expedite the completion of work on the rehabilitation-cum-counseling centres in North, South and Central Kashmir.