The Ministry of Home Affairs has selected three drug users' treatment and rehabilitation centres to provide capital grants in a bid to encourage them, as well as to guarantee the right to basic health services of each citizen.

According to Drug Control Section at the MoHA, a total of 16 rehabilitation centres had submitted proposal, seeking capital grants in line with Grants Distribution Procedures, 2021. "During evaluation of the proposals, three proponents were selected on merit basis," it said. It informed that agreement had also been reached with the concerned rehabilitation centres regarding utilisation of grants being provided to them, last week. MoHA officials had also conducted an on-site monitoring of the rehabilitation centres prior to the selection procedure.

The rehabilitation centres selected for the capital grants are Maya Nepal (Lalitpur), Nirnaya (Dang) and Richmond Fellowship Nepal (Kathmandu).

With this, Maya Nepal and Nirnaya have got Rs 100,000 each, while Richmond Fellowship Nepal has received Rs 95,100. MoHA said the grants would be utilised by the rehabilitation centres for conducting skills development training of drug users who have been undergoing treatment there.

The rehabilitation centres should be established and operated in a place with clean and peaceful environment, in close proximity to a hospital or a health institution with transportation facilities. A centre should have at least one ropani land in Kathmandu valley and a minimum of three ropani land in other parts of the country.

There is a six-member evaluation committee led by chief of section to determine the amount to be provided to the centres. The evaluation shall be based on various facilities being provided by the rehabilitation centres to drug users. As per the procedures, MoHA may provide grant to the centres both in cash or kind as needed. "The upper limit of the capital grant to be provided to the registered rehabilitation centres shall be in line with the approved budget and programme of the MoHA," it says.

Any rehabilitation centre which has not conducted annual general meeting, has not held elections of board of the director and accounts committee, has not carried out annual audit as of last fiscal and has not submitted tax clearance certificate shall not be entitled to the grant.

MoHA shall recover the grant amount provided to the rehabilitation centres as government dues along with legal action if the grants are found to have been misused or embezzled.

As per a 2020 report on drug users published by the MoHA, drug abuse among youths is spreading at an alarming rate in the country. The report stated that at least 130,424 youths are drug users in Nepal compared to 91,744 a decade ago.

A version of this article appears in the print on April 29, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.