Imphal: A meeting cum workshop on Alternative Livelihood for People in Poppy Cultivation Areas (Kamjong District) was held at Sikibung village (near Litan) under Kamjong district, on Wednesday.
Organized by the district administration, the event witnessed the attendance of various government officials belonging to different departments, top NAB officials, CSO stakeholders and people from various villages of the district.
David K. Shimray, president of TNL, Jamkholun Haokip, president of EKCA and Rev. Daniel Kashung, executive secretary of STNBA were some of the prominent CSO leaders participated in the workshop.
Rangnamei Rang Peter, deputy commissioner of Kamjong, while giving the keynote presentation of the event, said the state government has been taking up the issue of widespread poppy cultivation very seriously and solving this problem has become its top priority. The drive has become stronger more than ever before in the past few weeks. The government cannot alone fight this menace. Equal and similar responsibility and commitment are also needed from the side of the public and CSOs, he added.
Together, can take a big role in raising awareness to the villagers about the harms of poppy cultivation and need to resolve to other livelihood options for a better future. Today was just a beginning of a massive awareness drive and similar workshops will be held in various sub-divisions and also on village levels, he said.
The deputy commissioner expressed his appreciation to all the CSOs, villagers and district level government officials of different departments for taking such a keen interest to this serious societal issue.
In the technical sessions of the workshop, Sachidananda Soibam, additional superintendent of police, NAB gave a detailed PPT presentation on “the legal aspects and implications of poppy cultivation”.
He cited that a total of 6742 acres of land (as per 2021-22 records) belonging to nine districts of Manipur have been affected by poppy cultivation, thereby giving grave environment, social, economic, demographic and ethics and religion impacts.
There are only negative outcomes from cultivating poppy. Its cultivation has caused huge ecological impacts such as massive deforestation and rendering infertility to the soil. The chemicals and large amount of salt used in the cultivation have polluted the streams and rivers with poisonous substances causing serious health hazard to the public.
Others who took part in the technical sessions were Debadutta Singh, joint director (horti & SC)/PD MOMA: Manipur and Dr. Ibotombi Singh, director (vety and animal husbandry), who both gave a presentation on “Alternative livelihood to poppy cultivation”.