Patiala MP Dr Dharamvira Gandhi proposed a bill in the parliament for the decriminalisation and regulation of marijuana and opium. The bill has been passed by the legislative branch of the parliament and would be tabled during the winter session as a private member’s bill.
Dr Dharamvira Gandhi, an ousted AAP member due to the difference of ideologies, hopes to bring changes in the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act of 1985.
What led to the NDPS Act?
Until 1985 marijuana and opium were something that was sold legally and the consumption of the said drugs were not looked down upon.
In 1893, the House of Commons of the United Kingdom was concerned with the increasing rise in the use of marijuana in Bengal. By 1894, a 3281-page report called the Indian Hemp Drugs Commission Report was furnished.
The report concluded that occasional use of marijuana may have a beneficial effect but most certainly will have no evil effects physically, mentally or morally if consumed in a controlled manner.
The problem arose when in 1961 United States began to campaign for a worldwide law against all drugs. India opposed the move for almost 25 years and finally in 1984 Rajeev Gandhi government succumbed to the American pressure and passed the NDPS Act.
Provisions of the NDPS Act
The law makes possession or use of drugs punishable offence. Time of imprisonment varies with the quantity of drug found. It gets the drug under regulation and prohibits trafficking. It also allows the government to regulate, control and produce certain drugs too.
What Dharamvira Gandhi says
The Hindustan Times reports, Dr Gandhi saying that the regulation of drugs for the last 30 years did not show substantial results as it should have. It only increased the number of drug cartels, who are not even scared of the harshest punishments. The supply remains same, just behind hushed doors.
He wished that if the substances can be used for the recreational purpose by the common man, then ill-use of the same won’t occur. The criminalisation of drugs caused a rise of drug cartels, mafias and many human rights violations. He gave an example of Durette’s ‘War on Drugs’ and further proves his point right.
He also noticed that use of synthetic drugs like heroin and cocaine increased after the ban on non-synthetic drugs like ganja, opium etc.
In reply to the bill, a consumer says, “If ganja comes under the regulation of the government then the prices might increase. Yes, it is illegal now, but still, it is cheaper.”
If in the winter session the bill is passed that would mean marijuana, opium would be regulated by the government. It will become legal in India for recreational usage.
Have you ever spotted a speeding car without a care for the traffic signal? Ever spotted a person rushing to the other side of the road when the traffic light is green? Ever seen bikers use pavements as roads to save a few minutes? Ever seen cars change lanes on highways or rush hour traffic on a whim? Well, so have thousands of other Indians.
Road safety in India is a serious concern. For a country that boasts the second largest road network in the world, it is inarguable that we need to pay more attention to our safety on roads – a place where we step out every day, spend a handsome amount of our time.
The government has come up with several regulations on road safety, but is this enough? Not if awareness around the topic is still lacking.
The intention behind the initiative is to bring together lawmakers, local authorities, traffic police and citizens under one umbrella.
The cities will be rated on parameters such as Pedestrian Rights, Road Lighting and Maintenance, Motor Laws and Traffic Control, Emergency Services, Road Cleanliness, Connectivity, Road Transport Infrastructure, Heavy Vehicle Traffic Management, Road Safety, Differently abled friendly, Road Quality and Road Safety For Children.
Here are the ten cities that were chosen for Road Safety Index 2018 and the reasons that make their roads safe or unsafe:
Mumbai has facilities for the differently-abled like reservations in public transports, special train compartments, concessions on fares, etc. The city that never sleeps scored the best when it comes to citizens’ participation in making the city accepting and warm toward the differently-abled. It won the category ‘Differently-Abled Friendly’.
However, there are areas of improvement – illegal hawkers, pavements and footpaths need to be fixed or reconstructed.
Anyone who hails from the capital of West Bengal knows about its recreational parks and brightly lit streets. Its traffic police deserve special mention for redirecting rush traffic every day as Kolkata roads are narrow and many are one-way streets.
During Durga Puja, the city tries to make Pandals differently-abled friendly by installing ramps.
It won the categories – ‘Road Lighting & Maintenance’ and ‘Road Safety For Children’.
But the City of Joy needs to work more on giving its residents #HappyRoads. Issues of waterlogging and numerous street hawkers, roadside vendors in busy areas need to be solved.
There’s no one who’s been to Delhi and not praised its excellent connectivity. Delhi prides itself for broad roads, top-notch metros, pavements and foot over bridges. The national capital surely serves as an example for cities across India when it comes to road connectivity hence, it won the categories ‘Connectivity’ and ‘Road Quality’ in the Road Safety Index.
While Delhi has made many of its public places differently-abled friendly, the areas that need improvement are long hours in traffic, fixing of roads that pose a hindrance to daily commute and rash driving by bikers.
The city boasts well-marked zebra crossings, adequate footpaths for pedestrians, underground SMART dustbins, reduced encroachments. Raipur fares well in almost all parameters of road safety. It won the category of ‘Road Safety’ and ‘Pedestrian Rights’.
However, the city could do better with stricter fines for traffic violators and awareness about road safety and garbage disposal.
Other cities can take inspiration from Chennai on how to ensure good road safety. The city has wide, well-connected roads that are lit properly. It also boasts rigorous night patrolling where traffic rules violators are fined. One of the best initiatives taken by Chennai is the separate parking space on city roads that prevent traffic from accumulating. It came out on top in the category ‘Motor Laws & Traffic Control’.
Areas where Chennai needs to improve are street lighting and cleanliness.
Indore is one of the few cities that has used plastic waste for construction of roads and covered garbage disposals, which explains why the city won the ‘Road Cleanliness’ category. Indore also has adequate zebra crossings, visual signals, street lights, footpaths.
But areas where the city needs improvement are – strict action against traffic violators, public spaces more differently-abled friendly.
There is a lot to learn from the road safety measures implemented by Ahmedabad – sound medical facilities, separate lanes for local buses, special cab service for differently-abled, wide roads. Ahmedabad won in the category ‘Emergency Services’, ‘Road Transport Infrastructure’ and ‘Heavy Vehicle Traffic Management’.
If the Heritage City improves road safety awareness among citizens, it’s bound to fare even better. Better street lighting and lesser encroachments will work in favour of Ahmedabad.
The other cities shortlisted were Pune, Bangalore and Hyderabad but they didn’t win any category.
Maruti Suzuki’s initiative to rank cities will encourage citizens and administration to do better and emerge on top.
The Logical Indian community wholeheartedly appreciates the various initiatives undertaken by Maruti-Suzuki in this direction. Not only the government but we, as citizens of this country, should also pledge to make our roads safe. One of the first steps towards this is that we understand our duties.
We hope the authorities take a note while we pledge to do our own bit towards happier, safer Indian roads.
For more information about the Maruti Suzuki’s initiative and the Road Safety Indexclick here.