After destruction of crop, section of farmers in Manipur try to re-cultivate poppy for making drugs

Imphal, Nov 27 (IANS) After destruction of illegal poppy crop, a section of poppy cultivators in Manipur are again trying to grow the plant, used to make various drugs, at the same place, top officials said on Monday.

Chief Minister N. Biren Singh and senior law enforcement agency officials have accused illegal immigrants and drug peddlers, including Myanmar nationals, of being involved in mass poppy farming and forest destruction in Manipur.

Singh, in various social media posts on Monday, said that the joint survey carried out by various law enforcement agencies in five locations of Churachandpur district found that four out of five locations there are no new poppy cultivations.

“However, Suangkuang (one of the five locations) under Singngat Sub-Division (Churachandpur District) was found with new poppy cultivation of around one acre of hilly land. The cultivation was completely destroyed on Monday.”

“The state government has intensified its ‘War on Drugs’ and will not stop until the drug menace is completely rooted out from the state,” he also told the media.

The joint survey was conducted by the officials from the Narcotics Control Bureau, the Assam Rifles, the Forest Department, police, and the district administration.

The Chief Minister last week said that by spraying herbicides destroyed 31 hectares of illicit poppy fields at Tora Champhung Hill Range under Ukhrul district.

Ahead of the seven-month-long ethnic violence, the Manipur government, during March-April, started destruction of illegal poppy cultivation and launched the eviction drive against the encroachers who illegally occupied the reserve and protected forest lands in the mountainous areas of the state.

Biren Singh had maintained that evictions from forest lands were done in the state to preserve forests, considering the deteriorating climatic conditions, and that the state government never targeted a particular community.

Since 2017, around hundreds of encroachers have been evicted from forest land in Imphal East, Kangpokpi, Thoubal and Noney districts. People belonging to Meitei, Kuki, Pangal (Manipuri Muslim), and Kabui tribes have been evicted from the forest lands.

Poppy cultivation in Manipur stood at 15,496.8 acres. The Kuki-Chin community inhabited area in 2022-23 accounted for 804 acres and Naga people inhabited area was 350 acres.

The enormity of the drug menace has reached such a height that out of the state’s population of 28 lakh, the number of drugs-affected youths is around 1.4 lakh. Manipur, which shares around 400 km of unfenced border with Myanmar, has also become a gateway of illegal drugs-smuggling into India, state government officials said.



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