TODAY -

War on Drugs campaign : Drawing attention
- The Sangai Express Editorial :: December 22 2020 -



Suddenly people's interest in the much vaunted War on Drugs campaign launched by the BJP led Government has piqued, especially after main accused in a major drug haul back in 2018, was let off by the Court on the ground that the prosecution has failed to produce clinching" evidence against the accused.

This is the verdict of the Court and adding more drama to the new development was the decision of former Additional SP of NAB and the key officer behind the arrest of the main accused to return the gallantry award bestowed on her by the State Government.

This is what has happened and it is here that care should be taken to ensure that the campaign against drugs is not lost in the dust kicked up by the acquittal of the main accused.

The important question is how committed is the Government to the War on Drugs campaign.

How much has the Government been able to study and understand the nefarious dealings that go into the vast poppy cultivation in some areas of the hill districts.

What are the steps that have been taken up to counter the designs that go into making poppy cultivation such a big success in some hill areas of the State ?

Poppy plantation surely cannot be the work of a farmer or two but will obviously rest on the intricate land ownership system in the hill areas, the financial and muscle power that will be needed to plant the poppy and let it blossom.

This point is important in the backdrop of the fact that poppy plantations being razed to the ground by security forces make it to the news regularly, but does the drive against poppy plantation begin and end with destroying the plantation ?

Will the approach of the Government to assure alternative earning avenue to the farmers work without first understanding who actually owns the land, the 'system' under which the land is tilled and the produce is shared between those who actually till the land and the owner of the land.

Given that the patta system does not cover the hill areas of the State, it is important for the Government to get a firm grip on the land ownership rights of the hill people.

Moreover it also stands that land ownership will be different between the two major tribal groups in the hills, the Nagas and the Kukis.

The fight against poppy plantation should go together with the knowledge of the land ownership system in the particular area and how the produce is shared between the tillers of the soil and the person/s deemed to be the owner of the land.

If it is large scale poppy plantations in some areas of the hill districts, then it is only logical that there would be drug manufacturing units in the State and this can be confirmed from the earlier reports of how some drug manufacturing units have been busted by the police in the valley areas of Manipur.

The chain is clear.

Plant the raw material on the hill ranges and manufacture the drugs in the manufacturing units clandestinely set up in select areas of the valley.

The long chain will need to be connected and this is where druglords will step in.

Next is moving the finished products from the manufacturing units, ship them to the market, maybe based outside the State but surely some will be left behind as the shipment travels from A to destination B and then to C and D.

This is where the presence of a drug cartel, each working and complementing each other becomes palpable and the druglords can be masked under different cloaks but surely the cloaks they don will carry the 'influential' tag.



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