My Punjab is in fact the "Udta" Punjab

"Udta Punjab", the most recent Bollywood movie which is under the Censor Board scrutiny, talks about the drug menace in Punjab. Punjab, who has historically outperformed the rest of India in growth and productivity, has its youth addicted to drugs and alcohol. The famous land of 5 rivers is currently on the war with drugs.

According to a report by Indian Express, 9699 cases of narcotic drugs registered in 2015 which is 27 cases everyday. The drug dealers have spoiled the entire young population of Punjab. A survey conducted by National Drug Dependence Treatment Centre (NDDTC) shows that 76% of 18-35 year olds in Punjab are addicted to opioids. Opioids are a class of drugs that include some prescription analgesics, morphine and heroine. 2.3 lakhs opioids abusers in Punjab spend Rs. 20 crores everyday on drugs.(source) I wonder where all this money comes from?

Drug addiction has been leading to the rise in crimes related to drug abuse as well. The alarming statistics of drug crimes in Punjab in 2013 were 51.6% which is 18 times more than the national average (source). 14,483 FIRs (First Information Reports) have been registered under NDPS Act (Narcotic Drug and Psychotropic Substances Act) in 2014. These people were responsible for production and trafficking of banned opioids. Amritsar and Tarn Taran are the worst affected areas. A state which has 13,000 public schools and 12,000 liquor vends.

Even though it is alleged that most of the Heroin is smuggled into Punjab from bordering state of Pakistan, I don't completely agree with the fact that this is causing the increase of drug addiction in Punjab. We should not forget that India has not only Punjab but also Jammu & Kashmir, Rajasthan and Gujarat sharing the border with Pakistan. It is unfair to blame the drug menace on the geographical location of Punjab.

Unfortunately, the system is so inadequate that the deaths of the drug addicts in the prison are on rise as well. Instead of dealing with the addict's physiological and psychological illness, the prison is creating an unsafe environment for them. They commit suicide for not enduring the withdrawal symptoms. Prisons in Punjab are overcrowded and not equipped to handle drug addicts. Punjab government is denying any such menace in the state and they still believe other states in India are worse in terms of drug abuse and Punjab is just being branded as drug capital.

Data source: Times of India
Unemployment and illiteracy are the biggest causes of pushing the youth towards the drug addiction. Watch this video to know more about the root causes and the scenario in Punjab currently related to drug abuse. 

One of the possible solutions to solve this menace is to let more people know about this disease. People should be aware of what is happening around them. We need to accept the drug addiction as a disease and discuss it more openly. Clearly, "Udta Punjab" is trying to portray a story of one such drug addict from Punjab but this movie has to fight a long battle to receive an approval of release from censor board who could have been influenced by the state government. 

Punjab state government does not want to shame themselves for not doing enough for fighting the drug menace in their tenure and clearly shaking off any such drug war in Punjab. With assembly elections scheduled for next year, it is better if the current state government accepts the truth and should do more than just banning a film revealing the truth about PUNJAB.


  1. Glad you've written about this film. The good thing is whether we see it with the cuts or without, the discussion, the investigation and the awareness of what's happening in Punjab is on. That's the main thing. Hopefully change will follow.

    1. True Kalpanaa. I hope the film comes out as an eye opener as well. We needed films like these and once they are here, it is a pity that they have to go through legal battle to reach the common man.

  2. That's really good topic to be lighten thanks for your information hope people will aware and go ahead with some firm solution. Otherwise we will soon loose our youths and future punjab.

    1. That's true Harsha. I hope our system and youth realize it soon enough.