The Centre is taking the help of renowned classical musicians and dancers for sensitising the youths of Punjab to stay away from drugs.

The Union Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, headed by Thawarchand Gehlot, has lined up a series of workshop demonstrations of classical music and dance in government schools of Punjab in which the artistes exhort the students to keep away from drugs and alcohol. The event is being organised with the help of the Punjab government through the cultural organisation Spic Macay.

“During the programme, the artistes not only explain their respective art form, but also ask the students to take a pledge against drugs and alcohol abuse. The students sign a document in which they take a vow to say no to drugs,” Suman Doonga, Spic Macay’s central state facilitator (North India) told The Sunday Guardian. 

The initiative assumes significance as the increasing drug menace in Punjab is likely to become a poll issue when the state goes for elections next year. In the first phase, 86 such programmes were recently organised in Chandigarh and five other districts — Mohali, Rupnagar, Patiala, Jalandhar and Nawanshahr — involving artistes like Divya Dikshit, Mujaffar Ali, Vidya Gauri Adkar (Kathak), Meenu Thakur, T. Lakshmi Reddy (Kuchipudi), Sanchita Bannerji (Odissi), Vijaylakshmi (Mohiniattam), Priya Venkatraman (Bharatnatyam) and Amjad Ali (Hindustani vocal). The second phase of the series will start from 22 August.

According to Nalin Taneja, a senior office-bearer of the Chandigarh chapter of Spic Macay, programmes under the second phase will be held from 22-31 August in government schools in 10 districts, including Amritsar, Gurdaspur, Tarantaran, Pathankot and Kapurthala. He said 40 programmes are likely to be held under the second phase. “In the third phase, the remaining seven districts would be covered, for which dates are yet to be finalised,” said Taneja. 

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