“UDTA PUNJAB”- The horrid reality of Punjab


Sanjukta Biswas


After beaucoup of controversies that have been scaring the producer of Udta Punjab, the movie has finally seen the wavier to release for public viewing and it has only one deleted scene instead of suggested 89 cuts initially. Udta Punjab is a crime thriller written by Sudip Sharma and directed by Abhishek Chaubey. The movie revolves around four protagonists those are a rock star ( Shahid Kapoor), a migrant labourer (Alia Bhatt), a doctor (Kareena Kapoor Khan) and a policeman (Diljit Dosanjh), who are fighting the menace of drugs in their own way. The movie brilliantly showcases the hollowness a drug addict faces and the artificial highs and real lows that one has to face while treading the paths of mortal dangers.

As we all know that cinema depicts the picture of current status of any area or it tries to remake an incident that would have had occurred in past. But drugs addiction is the green state, Punjab is the horrid reality.

Now let every one of us rewind few decades and look into the factors that triggered drugs consumption in Punjab. Why that only Punjab is majorly affected by drug racket? What are the core reasons for this mishap? The Narcoterrorism which has engulfed the youth of Punjab has its birth from various issues such as Partition, Khalistan, Operation Blue Star, communal riots, Black Thunder, terrorism, migrations and the failure of the mighty state Government to provide employment opportunities to the youth and the major credit goes to green revolution which made the farmers millionaires. The Green revolution transformed the livelihood of the state, the state had enough money for them and the political class thought of separating themselves from the motherland, which resulted in riots and nuisance.

The extent of drug addiction in Punjab is alarming. Near border areas the rate of heroin abuse among 15 to 25 year olds is as high as 75% – the percentage is 73% in other rural areas throughout the region. A Department of Social Security Development of Women and Children suggested that as many as 67% of rural households in Punjab will have at least one drug addict in the family. There is at least one death due to drug overdose each week in the region. According to ‘The Punjab Opioid Dependency Survey’ (PODS) conducted by the National Drug Dependence Treatment Centre, AIIMS, the estimated number of drug dependent people currently residing in Punjab is 2,32,856. The data for the survey, conducted between February and April 2015, was collected from a total of 3620 opioid dependent individuals across 10 districts of the state. The data states, the number of users is always higher than the number of dependents. “The estimates for opioid users in Punjab could be around 8.6 lakh,” the survey states. Based upon the analysis of the data, about 76% opioid dependent individuals in Punjab are in the age group of 18 to 35 years and a large majority (89%) are literate and have some degree of formal education.

The National Drug Dependence Treatment Centre at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences has to tackle large numbers of drug addicts from Punjab, Haryana, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Jammu and Kashmir as also from the north-eastern states. The NDDTC along with the NGO Society for Promotion of Youth and Masses recently released the results of its 2015 study on drug abuse in Punjab which threw up some alarming statistics. Not only were drug addicts found to be spending up to Rs 2.5 crore (Rs 25 million) per day on the purchase of drugs, but the numbers of addicts were much larger than had been highlighted by earlier studies. Over Rs 7,500 crore (Rs 75 billion) worth of drugs is consumed on an annual basis in Punjab. The money spent on heroin abuse is calculated to be a whopping Rs 6,500 crore (Rs 65 billion).

If these entire statistic are not alarming then what is more alarming? The youth of state dopes and dies and their parents are left in tears. When a child dies due to drug overdose, a parent has to fill form regarding which drug the child has dies, isn’t this painful? Think twice before getting into this world of nuisance.