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Subadh Kumar Nayak

Rourkela: Steel City Rourkela, considered as one of the premier educational and business hub in Odisha is now staring at a serious scenario of drug abuse prevailing among youths especially school and college students.

Boasting of educational institutes of national repute like the NIT, Biju Patnaik University of Technology (BPUT) and renowned PSU like the Rourkela Steel Plant, people from all over the country dot the city. Taking its advantage, drug peddlers are also rampantly infiltrating narcotics from neighbouring States and operating their clandestine trade in the city.

Hookah and dance bars have also been found operating in different parts of the city including Udit Nagar, Civil Township and railway station area without any permission from the administration. Numerous shanties are also being run in slums for sale of drugs and spurious liquor.

Bar owners have managed to hide their operation from police scanner by putting up innovative signboards of fast food, coffee cafe and soft drinks on their outlets and this way they have been successful in attracting youngsters.

Sources also said that not only students, labourers engaged at Rourkela Steel Plant (RSP) and other industries in and around the city have also become easy targets for drug peddlers.

The drug menace has raised serious concern among the residents of the city many of whom have alleged police and administration of neglecting the issue. Intellectuals have also questioned the role of the police in failing to curb the drug menace.

"It is all most a year that hookah bar been running in our area. Despite our repeated requests, no action has been taken yet. Due to negligence by police, even school students come here to use drugs," alleged a local resident.

On the other hand, Rourkela Police has formed a special squad to check the menace and wean vulnerable youths from substance abuse.

"We have launched a special drive to control drug abuse. As part of our initiative, we are also conducting raids at different places including shops and bars to make Rourkela free from drugs," said Panposh SDPO Asim Kumar Panda.

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