“Poppy plantation causes climate change”

Pothashang News Service: Imphal, March 14, 2019: Jungles are cleared not for Jhum cultivation or for timber but for Poppy plantation, which is a news cause of deforestation being noticed in Manipur.

This was said by director of South East Asia Centre for Agricultural Science and Humanities, Dr. A. Sunil Singh at the International Day of Action for Rivers held at Sangai hall of Hotel Imphal.

The day was observed on the theme “Climate Change and Riverine Eco-system in Manipur”.

It was jointly organised by directorate of environment and South East Asia Centre for Agricultural Science and Humanities under the aegis of Marjing Industries Private Limited.

Sunil said thousands of hectares of hitherto forest areas have been cleared to make way for poppy plantation, which in turn is used to produce Opium, which after being converted to Base Morphine is then transported across the border to Golden Triangle area or to Mobile Laboratories in Manipur has converted into No. 4 Grade Heroin to feed the ongoing domestic and international demand for Drugs.

It is at this juncture that we need to have a serious rethinking about our approach towards preserving the catchment areas of the riverine systems of Manipur. This is not just a task that has to be left alone to the forest and environment department of Manipur but requires a holistic approach where all the stake-holders, namely the people who are dependent upon the produce of the catchment areas, he added.

The people at the receiving ends of the caused by the frequent flood, the narcotics department, forest department, water resources department and environmentalists would need to pool in their resources come up at a comprehensive policy towards ending this problem of frequent floods and devastation of thr agrarian economy of Manipur our mainstay or means of livelihood, the director said.

He said Manipur is in this year of 2019, the men are planning colonics in the moon and Mars, still and agrarian economy depending mostly on its agricultural produce. Its primary sector remains the dominant employment sector defying the Harris Toledo model of economic growth. It is almost a deindustrialisation process that has stepped into bring the traditional concept of cottage industry seems to have disappeared. It can almost be learned to be akin to the great de-industrialisation process that had stalled the Indian Economy in the 18th Century during the British rule. It’s tertiary sector still by a large remains confined to governmental jobs which are often suspected to be auctioned off.

It is at this juncture that we are contemplating upon entering into a new venture to boost the primary sector or agro-based production backed with proven scientific results which can be applied in the field level along with the scientists at hand or monitor the entire process from the planting state till the harvesting time. However, we would have to hear in mind that as much as the Indian agricultural production depends upon a good monsoon or not the Manipur agrarian economy depends upon the riverine system that feeds our fields and crops, he added.

The riverine systems of Manipur fall into two major river systems. The first being the Irrawaddy River Drainage system where water flowing through the rivers of Manipur falls first into the Chindwin river and thereafter into the Irrawaddy River before discharging into the It, of Bengal. The second is the Ganga River Drainage system whereby all rivers flowing West of the Koubru Range discharges itself into the Barak River before joining the Ganges in Bangladesh before emptying itself into the Bay of Bengal. However of late, we have been noticing with an alarming frequency the numerous times the river banks of the rivers running through the Imphal Valle, was overflowed inundating all the standing crops in the Manipur Valley wreaking havoc in its course besides caning unmeasurable misery to the population living along its course, the director said.

The first thing that we would notice is the deforestation that has taken place in the catchment areas of rivers. The lack of forests cover has resulted in topsoil erosion whereby soil downloaded along the river beds had resulted in the shallowing of the river beds reducing its water carrying capacity. The second important problem that has occurred is the lowering of the Water Tables in the areas. A phenomenon which would regulate water flow to the rivers during times of heavy monsoons and a steady supply during the lean seasons in fast becoming a phenomenon of the past. Unfortunately, our establishment has not been able to link these two twin phenomena of a lowering of the water table and the increased frequency of floods, the director said.

When we look back to the cause of deforestation in the catchment areas of the rivers of Manipur, it was initially for lumbering providing timber to the major Indian markets apart jhum cultivation, he added.






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