Manipur government will not spare drug dealers, poppy farmers: Biren

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Imphal: Manipur chief minister N. Biren Singh strongly speaking against illegal poppy plantation said a strong warning a warning has been issued that the present government will not spare anyone found involved in the drug business or poppy plantation.

The drug menace has strongly affected our society, the chief minister said, and reiterated that there will be no compromise on any drugs related issue.

“We cannot remain silent anymore. The present government has the mandate of the people and will not succumb before the interest of few who are affecting the future of the youth,” Biren said.

The chief minister was speaking at the launching of Direct Benefit Transfer for organic farmers held at his secretariat on Thursday.

In an appeal to illegal poppy planters in the hills, the Biren said, this is his last appeal to do away with poppy plantations and take up alternative livelihood.

He said he has apprised the Centre on the issue and highlighted that without proper rehabilitation, the issue has led to severe ecological imbalances, land erosion in the hills due to extensive use of chemical fertilisers, inability to save forest, etc.

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The government is ready with all assistance for alternative arrangement under any department whether under horticulture or veterinary and that it should be initiated from a district initially, he added.

He highlighted that the NDPS Act has also been amended and steps are being taken up to de-recognise villages found involved in poppy plantation.

A government constituted committee is there to identify the number of houses in a village and which villages are involved in poppy plantation, the chief minister said adding that if the need arises Hill Area Committee or Revenue Department or any other will be consulted.

Hinting at interference from certain organisations, the chief minister said the elected representatives are here to govern the state and all 60 members are working for the future of Manipur.

“We should have some civic sense and think of our neighbours also. Let us all live together in unity and face the challenges thrown at us,” Biren said. “Actions will be taken up against those who made provoking, communal comments.”

Biren also warned of legal action against illegal encroachers and said the government will give one month’s time for them to come before the government.

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Horticulture and soil conservation minister Letpao Haokip said poppy plantation affects the society in two ways which are the drug menace in the society and deforestation in the hills. “We cannot take this lightly.”

The minister also expressed the need to implement schemes by laying more emphasis on plantations which are more suitable to the state’s soil to ensure successful implementation of the scheme.

​The government has also assured all possible help in providing alternative sustainable livelihood to stop poppy plantation in the hills, he said adding that the department will have to take a pivotal role in the fight against poppy plantation.

“Nature has been very generous to our state, but we are unable to use it,” Letpao said.

Additional chief secretary, horticulture and soil conservation P. Vaiphei said the chief minister has taken a very strong initiative for transparency and accountability, particularly in implementation of e-governance schemes and today’s DBT transfer is one such activity.

The chief minister has also been highlighting the need for stopping poppy cultivation in the hill districts of the state and taken it up very passionately, he added.

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He made an appeal to all farmers involved in poppy plantation to stop and come forward so that the government may provide all possible assistance or alternative farming programmes.

He also took up an example of a village ‘Peh’ in Ukhrul voluntarily came out and destroyed their poppy plantation last year citing that it is anti-social, bad for the future generation and detrimental to the future of Manipur, the department had taken up various activities in the village. The chief minister had deputed a special team from horticulture hepartment, who engaged all the people under the MOVCDNER, Manipur and brought them into organic farming under the department, he said.

He also spoke about a study under the advice of the chief minister to convert Loktak Phumdis into nutrients for agriculture farming and that a Detailed Project Report has been made. The proposal is to convert the phumdis into nutrients which will make the state self dependent in terms of nutrient production and the nutrients will be chemical free.

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