Extensive poppy plantation in hill areas
2 investors held; may abrogate SoO, if necessary: Biren
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, February 25 2023: Chief Minister N Biren has stated that the State Government may abrogate SoO agreement if involvement of SoO groups in poppy plantation is confirmed.

The Chief Minister made this statement in the State Assembly today while discussing seven demands for grants pertaining to Police, PWD, Vigilance & Anti-Corruption Department, Fire Protection & Control, Jail, Home Guard and Economics & Statistics.

The demands amounted to Rs 4258,53,49,000 .

Responding to policy cut motions raised by Opposition MLAs K Ranjit, Th Lokeshwor and Surjakumar Okram in the course of discussing the demands, the Chief Minister informed the House that two individuals from Heirok and Thoubal have been arrested for investing in poppy plantations.

They were investing Rs 20 lakh to Rs 30 lakh.

Extensive poppy plantation in hill areas
Extensive poppy plantation in hill areas

One village chief who was pulled up for poppy plantation in his area disclosed that one armed group under SoO agreement was involved in poppy plantation.

Subsequently, the matter has been referred to the NIA, Biren said.

On questioning, the chief of T Waichong village mentioned KRA and KNO but he maintained that he did not know the names of the individuals who invested money for poppy cultivation at T Waichong and surrounding areas.

The matter is being investigated, Biren said.

Whether any group is under SoO agreement or not, the Government would never compromise on the issue of poppy plantation.

The Government may even abrogate SoO, if necessary, the Chief Minister asserted.

If they are determined to amass wealth by feeding 'poison' to the masses, then the Government must withdraw from the SoO agreement, he said.

He informed that two drones; one for identifying poppy plantations and another for spraying herbicides have been procured.

Following the sustained campaign of the Government to destroy poppy plantations, poppy is now planted amidst vegetables like cabbage and peas, he continued.

Herbicide was sprayed on poppy plantations after it was confirmed by scientists that it does not pose any risk to health and at the same time it can kill poppy plants.

Even though trial of herbicide at some places has proved to be successful, poppy destruction is done manually at present, he said.

The Government would ensure than not even 10 per cent of the poppy plants are harvested, Biren said.

He further exuded that smuggling of drugs from Myanmar can be curtailed by 80 per cent once the ongoing work of constructing 34 police outposts is complete.

It was rather disappointing that some people took out a rally demanding alternative sources of income for destroying poppy plantation at T Waichong, he remarked.

He then asked if the villagers implied that they would continue poppy plantation if the Government does not provide them any alternative.

All the 60 Members of the House need to work together sincerely and trans- parently in order to save the future generations, Biren asserted.

The Chief Minister claimed that law and order problems have vanished from the State after police forged a very healthy and cordial relationship with the public.

Biren stated that police-public relationship has improved remarkably in the State.

Police are the backbone of the Government.

Public image of the Government whether it is good or bad and whether it is stable or not is determined by the police force's behaviour, discipline and how they treat the public, Biren said.

Manipur is a State where every community has their own armed groups.

Even though every community has underground organisations, peace has been restored in the State following remarkable improvement in the police-public relationship.

As a result, there is no administrative or law and order problems, Biren said.

With the people acting as informers, identification of anti-National elements has become a lot easier, he said.

The sense of fear and contempt felt by people when they saw police is now a thing of the past.

The role and contributions of police deserve appreciation, the Chief Minister said.

Regarding border pillars and boundary fencing, Biren clarified that the boundary dispute is now limited to just 350 metres near Kwatha Khunou as the rest has been resolved.

He maintained that border pillars cannot be shifted from their original positions arbitrarily for there are satellite maps.

The strip of land where border fence is constructed cannot be taken as Manipur's territory.

A small area is left out as no man's land, he said.

The border fencing work has been suspended at the point where Maharaj Gambhir Singh's memorial stands as there are some disputes in the area, Biren told the House.

On Fire Service, he said that small fire tenders have been procured for use in narrow or congested lanes.

Nine foam and CO2 fire tenders, 15 portable fire pumps and 10 foam compound tanks of 500 litre capacity have been procured.

With a plan to open a fire station in each and every Assembly segment, a project of Rs 93 crore has been submitted to the Union Home Minister, Biren said.

He assured that necessary procedure would be initiated to release the 13th month pay of security personnel within the month of March.

Saying that an order for biennial transfer and posting of police personnel has been issued, the Chief Minister vowed that maximum efforts would be made to ensure that physical test for recruitment of police personnel is done purely on merit basis without leaving any room for corruption.

The Government would see that results of all completed recruitment processes are declared at the earliest, he said.

Later, the demands were passed by the House after the policy cut motions raised by the Opposition Members were withdrawn.

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