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Meghalaya Government Bolsters Village Defence Parties to Combat Drug Crisis

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HT Digital,

Shillong, May 29: In a determined effort to address the pervasive drug and narcotics crisis, the Meghalaya government has resolved to strengthen Village Defence Parties (VDPs) throughout the state. This strategic initiative was decided during a high-level meeting on May 28, chaired by Social Welfare Minister Paul Lyngdoh. The meeting included officials from various departments such as home, police, social welfare, and NGOs actively involved in the anti-drug campaign.

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Minister Lyngdoh highlighted the need to revamp and reorganize VDPs, particularly in identified hotspots like Shillong. Emphasizing the critical role of community participation, he stated, “To eliminate and eradicate the menace of drugs and narcotics, we need to broaden the involvement of civil society.”

Recent interactions with local governing bodies, known as dorbar shnongs, revealed a consensus on their eagerness to actively combat the drug crisis within their communities. The discussions at the meeting centered on empowering VDPs to effectively address this pressing issue.

Acknowledging the existing challenges, Lyngdoh cited concerns from dorbar shnongs about their limited authority to identify and report accused individuals to the police. He affirmed the government’s commitment to enhancing community policing by revitalizing VDPs, ensuring they receive adequate training to tackle the drug menace.

Outlining the duties and functions of VDPs, Lyngdoh explained that their responsibilities include assisting the police in maintaining law and order, preventing theft, burglaries, and other unlawful activities, as well as combating drug-related crimes.

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Contrary to claims of insufficient government support, Lyngdoh pointed to the funding provided for nine deaddiction centers and related activities. He cited the recent example of Mawlai, where community efforts were fully supported by government funding for food, accommodation, and counseling services, demonstrating the administration’s commitment to addressing the drug crisis through comprehensive community involvement and support.

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