No drugs in this Punjab village

Local people have not consumed alcohol, tobacco for decades

In a state blemished with the notoriety of drugs, one village in Punjab stands out to belie this taint. A small village in Punjab’s Sangrur has earned its repute as a village ‘free of drugs’. 

The village even does not have a liquor vend. The nearest vend is an 8-km stretch away from the village bounds. Villagers say, it’s a collective conscious decision not to have any liquor vend in the area.  

Bhakhopeer, some 25-km from Sangrur, vouch for its eminence as a ‘drug-free’ village. Villagers claim there have been no cases of drug abuse emanating out of the village.Bhakhopeer with a population of close to 1,500 inhabitants has five provision stores to cater to daily needs. But, none of these sell tobacco or cigarettes. That’s because there has been no demand from villagers for any such intoxicants.

President of the village Sikh shrine Sabha, Gurbachan Singh, claimed that the village has lived up to its fame for decades. Sale of tobacco, alcohol, intoxicants and cigarettes is banned, he added.  

Singh said that in early seventies, an 11-member team was constituted to ensure that the village is drug-free. The village panchayat was completely involved in the exercise. The pledge still is honoured by residents, he claimed. 

This Sikh dominated place even does not have a barber shop. That’s because Sikh religion forbids cutting of hair and Sikhs in this settlement follow this tradition most religiously.   Gurbinder Singh Cheema, a Sangrur-based advocate said to Deccan Herald the perception that Bhakhopeer is drug-free has long survived. 

“Had it not been the case, the claims would have fallen flat over the years. Some aberrations may have taken place, but the resolve of the village is not only laudable but inspirational too,” Gurbinder Cheema said.

Punjab has been fighting drug menace more effectively than ever before. Huge seizures of high priced heroin have been made in the recent past by the Punjab Police in its war to break drug supply lines that facilitate drug paddlers and addicts.

This year, over 9,900 cases have been registered under the Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act and  11,400 people have been arrested on drug-related charges. With drug addicts unable to get their supply of drugs, as many as 2.08 lakh people got treated at rehabilitation centres by the end of July in Punjab.

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