Imphal: In continuation with the government’s effort to eradicate illegal poppy cultivation and to make the state free of drugs, Kangpokpi Forest department along with Kangpokpi district police took up Poppy destruction drives at hill ranges of Harup Naga village, T Waichong and Mongjang village, Saikul under Kangpokpi Forest Division.
The teams were led by range forest officer, Kangpokpi Range and Motbung Range at Harup Naga and Mongjang, respectively.
A total of 4.23 hactares at Harup Naga and 10.12 hactres at Mongjang village were cleared of poppy cultivation. FIRs and PORs are filed against the cultivators and legal action taken up as per law.
Poppy has been found to be observed to be cultivated inside notified forest areas which are clear violation of the rules and regulations laid down by the government to protect such forest areas.
As per Indian Forests Act, 1927 read with Manipur Forest Rules, 2021 breaking up of land for nonforestry purposes in forest areas of the state amounts to trespassing and encroachment into government protected forest land which are clear violations of the rules. “Any person found to have committed such illegal activities is punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to six months, or with fine, or with both, in addition to such compensation for damage done to the forest as the convicting Court may direct to pay,” the Forest department cautions
The divisional Forest officer, Kangpokpi Forest Division, Ganesh, has warned those indulging in such illegal cultivation that strict action will be taken up against them. Also, the village chiefs under whose village jurisdiction such illegal cultivation is found will be dealt with severely as per law.
He appealed to the public to refrain from indulging in such illegal activity and help the government in its effort to nab those responsible. He reiterated that beside it being clear violation of the rules laid down by the government, poppy cultivation is a serious threat to the environment also. Uncontrolled and injudicious deforestation and use of chemical fertilizers liberally without any thoughts of its impact on health and environment in the upland slopes affect not only the environment but also pose serious health hazards to those living in the surrounding areas. The chemicals/ fertilizers dissolve in the water making it unfit for consumption.
He appealed to the public to inform the concerned departments if they have any leads on the illegal activity and to join hands to make “ War on drugs” campaign a success. He said it is our collective and individual responsibility to look after , to protect and preserve the environment.