Anti-drug campaigner gets cold response in holy city

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AmritsarPosted at: Jul 21, 2017, 1:09 AM; last updated: Jul 21, 2017, 1:09 AM (IST)Schools not interested to let Noida resident hold seminars


Activist Sandeep Bansal is sensitising students to drug menace for three years.

Divya Sharma

Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 20


Sandeep Bansal (47) from Noida, who is on a mission to sensitise students to the harms of consuming alcohol, is unhappy over the apathetic attitude of the education authorities and various school managements. He says he is not getting cooperation in a state which is under the grave threat of drug and alcohol abuse.
Bansal, who works as a senior vice–president in a multinational IT company, has been running from pillar to post for the past one week to convince schools and education officials to be allowed to conduct seminars on alcohol in private and government institutions. His programme themed ‘cool–teens’ covers students from Class IX to XII.
Bansal takes unpaid leave from his company twice a month and travels to various parts of the country on his own expense. In Amritsar, he is spending Rs 3,000 a day as he has visited around 20 schools, of which only two have agreed to hold seminar. He said, “I am not taking a single penny. My aim is to educate the young minds. I am doing it at my level for society, but talking about alcoholism seems to be a taboo in this country.”
“Only a handful of schools have come forward. Even, district education officials have shown no interest in my campaign which I began three years ago,” he says.
Sandeep began the campaign after he came across an ailing 14-year-old girl who was taking treatment for cancer and addiction. The girl was made addicted to alcohol by his parents as they wanted their space in this fast pace lives and started administering her liquor from a young age of three. This is Sandeep’s second visit to the holy city.
He had come in May and held sessions in several private schools. Under the second phase, he plans to cover new schools and government institutions. He has conducted such seminars in Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarkhand but he says it is Punjab where he is facing the problem and might not carry forward his drive in other parts of the state. He said, “I was planning to visit Patiala, Jalandhar, but I might not go there.”
Bansal had planned to stay here till August 10 but he will wind up in the last week of July due to poor response. District Education Officer, secondary, Sunita Kiran could not be contacted.

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