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Clean Kolavayal: How a Kasaragod village won the hearts of its youth

Police personnel interacting with residents and youth as part of the Clean Kolavayal project. Photo: Special Arrangement.

M V Narayanan and Shamsudin Kolavayal, residents of a small village Kolavayal in Kasaragod, have seen the worst of drug abuse when their village was in the grip of drug mafia a few years back. But now they are content and proud for cleansing their village of drug mafia through a collective effort of people.

Although Narayanan is a CPM worker and Shamsudin an IUML party worker, they put aside their political differences and have been working together with other residents of the village for the last two years to fight the drug menace that once plagued the youngsters in the village.

“If people come together against any social evil, then it can be eradicated,” said Shamsuddin sipping a tea at a tea stall at Kolavayal. Agreeing with Shamsudin, Narayanan said the fight against drug mafia will continue because people realised the need to take a stand against the scourge that was tearing apart the fabric of their close-knit community.

Police personnel collecting details from the public as part of the project

Kolavayal, which falls under Hosdurg police station limits in Kasaragod, fell under the grip of drug mafia after narcotics cases rose and traditional enforcement models to curb drug addiction failed.
The drug mafia made in roads during the Covid period. As many in the Gulf lost their jobs and returned home in desperate situation, the drug mafia used the opportunity to lure them offering money. Subsequently, many became drug users and traffickers. People realised the gravity of the situation only when police started frequently nabbing youngsters for possession of drugs. Even school children became addicted to deadly drugs such as MDMA.

“We were not aware of the seriousness of the issue. Once a ninth class student was caught buying MDMA from a shop in broad daylight by the locals, it became clear how deeply rooted is the menace. A student who got A Plus in all subjects in plus two examination got addicted to drugs,” said Narayanan.

“The situation became alarmingly worse when children from economically well-off families started stealing money from home for buying drugs. Incidents of sexual exploitation of minor boys also began with four POCSO cases registered during the period,” said Shamsuddin.

It was in this context that the Kasaragod district police launched a project called “Clean Kolavayal” in the village, in close coordination with the residents. The project focused on ground-level activities to deal with the drugs mafia with the support of the people, identify drug users and peddlers and develop support mechanisms for drug addicts through counselling, community support and assistance.

ADGP (Law and Order) M R Ajith Kumar said the project was successfully launched and implemented when Vaibhav Saxena was the district police chief. “Since then, we have been continuing with the project which has been effective in checking the activities of drug mafia and preventing youngsters from become drug addicts. Our police officers still interact with the residents and undertake surveys to keep track on the developments,” said Ajith Kumar.

Kasaragod DySP P Balakrishnan Nair, who was instrumental in implementing the Clean Kolavayal project, said the police could make it success because of the active participation of the local residents who realised the need to act because of the gravity of the situation.

A football tournament organised for the youth by the residents as part of the project

” We prepared a list of suspected drug abusers and traffickers in the village with the support of information from residents. We regularly conducted visit to their houses sensitising their family members about the gravity of the situation. We offered counselling and jobs to those who were ready to defect from the nexus of drug mafia. Our efforts yielded results when13 people came forward agreeing to our conditions and later joined our fight against drug abuse. The remaining persons were booked under Kerala Anti-Social Activities (Prevention) Act,” said Balakrishnan Nair.

For the last two years, the villagers have been regularly conducting campaigns that include sports events to keep up the momentum against the drug menace. ” We are planning a football academy and PSC coaching center to offer free training to students. We are always on the alert and we don’t want to take any chance by diluting the project. The deadly scourge of drug addiction can return anytime and it is imperative to remain vigilant against it,” said Narayanan.

(This article is part of the anti-drug campaign #ChooseLife in association with Infopark, Kochi and Kerala Police.)

One Comment

  1. Dr Narahari, Kasaragod March 6, 2024

    very glad to hear this news.

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