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Legal reforms to deal with drug related issues - Defence Secretary

January 30, 2021
  •     Innocent youth fallen prey to drugs will be rehabilitated and reintegrated into the society.

Necessary legal reforms would be introduced soon to direct drug addicted minor offenders to rehabilitations centres for curative measures, instead of retaining them behind the prison cells for an extensive period, said the Defence Secretary Gen. Kamal Gunaratne (Retd) yesterday (Jan 29).

“Sizeable narcotics in custody during operations would also be destroyed promptly following the judgment of judiciary, while forwarding samples for legal proceedings, in order to prevent underhand dealings and abusing official powers”, he added.

Reasoning the measures, he said, “Bringing of culprits within the law enforcement to the book, has uncovered the enemy within us”.     

Gen. Gunaratne (Retd) expressed these remarks at the inaugural ceremony of the Nawadiganthaya (Treatment and Rehabilitation Centre), Nittambuwa, while addressing the gathering.  

The Attanagalla Raja Maha Viharaya Chief Prelate Most Ven. Dr. Pannila Ananda Nayake Thero had sponsored the noble cause while the technical expertise and labour was from the Sri Lanka Navy (SLN).

Augmenting the national endeavour, plans are afoot to construct a new building complex, at the same venue, under the supervision of the National Dangerous Drugs Control Board (NDDCB).

In keeping with the ‘Vistas of Prosperity and Splendour’, as envisioned by President Gotabaya Rajapaksha, NDDCB will bring the menace of drug addiction to an end through a treatment based intervention.

State Minister of Co-operative services, Marketing Development and Consumer Protection Hon. Lasantha Alagiyawanna and Parliamentarians were also present at the ceremony.

Mentioning the drive ahead to be a drug free nation, the pathway wouldn’t be an easy one, the Defence Secretary said further stating that "Eight such buildings would be setup for the rehabilitation process".

“The labour force would be taken from the tri-forces during my tenure”, he asserted.

While extending gratitude to all the donors who extended their supportive hands to launch the succeeding phase, the Defence Secretary said “owing to these generous offerings, we are able to treat 60 inmates at a time and reintegrate them into the society.”

Plans are in the pipeline to setup 20 buildings in Weerawila to augment the prisons capacity for 2,000 inmates, he said while citing a recent discussion had with the Prisons Commissioner General.

Stressing on the process mooted to eliminate the drug menace under the leadership of President Rajapaksha, Gen. Gunaratne said “The unlawful deals of notorious underworld kingpins and drug lords have been futile, since we have formed ‘Maximum Security Prisons’ to house them”.

“Not only drug ringleaders, we have also nabbed the regional drug peddlers”, he added.

“Facilities available in the rehabilitation centres are not enough and requirement exists to develop the centre and rehabilitate about 1000 inmates,” he also stressed.

NDDCB news website was relaunched and mementos were also presented to the Most Ven. Dr. Pannila Ananda Nayake Thero and supportive institutions during the session.

Handing over of generous contributions for the work in progress was also took place.  

The Defence Secretary laid the foundation stone for this noble endeavour on 26 Jun, 2020.

Ven. Maha Sanga, Additional Secretary (National Security) Samanthi Weerasinghe, Chief of National Intelligence Maj. Gen. Ruwan Kulathunga (Retd), Director of National Cadet Corps Maj. Gen. PWB Jayasundara, Gampaha District Secretary Sunil Jayalath, NDDCB Chairperson Dr. Laknath Welagedara, Commissioner General of Prisons Thushara Upuldeniya, SLN Chief of Staff, Rear Admiral Sumith Weerasinghe, Senior DIG Sumith Edirisinghe (Retd), UNODC Representatives, NDDCB officials and philanthropists were also present at the ceremony.