Cracking its whip against drug abuse, Himachal Pradesh High Court on Thursday appointed Deputy Commissioner (Kullu) as ‘nodal officer’ for launching a mass operation at Kasol — a village that of late has become infamous base camp for peddlers, rave parties and drug trade in the district.
The court told the Deputy Commissioner to knock down all encroachments and unauthorised structures that have mushroomed in the village and its periperial belt. “No establishments at village Kasol be allowed to operate except in accordance with law. Director General of Police and Zonal Director, Narcotics crime Bureau (NCB) of Chandigarh will also cooperate with the operations” the court ordered.
The orders were passed by division bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Sanjay Karol and Justice Sandeep Sharma on a petitions filed by the Zonal Director and Narcotics Control Bureau, Chandigarh. The court observed as per the joint inspection report of a committee constituted by Kullu DC, out of 60 establishments (hotels) in Kasol area, 44 did neither had permissions from the tourism department nor do they had any consent to operate in terms of Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution)Act, 1974 and Air(Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981.
The court also noted that some of these establishments had also encroached upon forest land for making profits to cater to foreign and Indian tourists. The bench directed that all 44 establishments be shut down forthwith and tasked DC (Kullu) Yunus to ensure that the water and electricity supply connections to these hotels were also disconnected. The court also gave the Superintendent of Police, Kullu, the power to depute police force for implementing such directions.
Director General of Police and Zonal director NCB were told to file a fresh status report within a period of four weeks, giving details of the steps taken on the court’s orders to deal will illegal drug trade and related activities in the area. The court also expressed concern that drug menace had become one of the serious problems in the society and it was alarmed with the sizeable increase in the ‘charas’ seizures by the NCB from the state.
The bench had directed the Superintendent of Police, Kullu, as well as Zonal Director, Narcotics Control Bureau, Chandigarh, on October 25 last year to constitute a Joint Task Force to raid all restaurants, hotels and dhabas in and around Kasol and Malana to stop illegal activities related to drugs.
The Joint Task Force was also directed to visit Malana village and ensure complete eradication of contraband and take action against people indulging in illegal trade of contrabands. The case was listed for next hearing on January 11, 2018.