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Manipur in UN's drug cartel map says it all
- The People's Chronicle Editorial :: November 09, 2022 -



UNDESIRABLE it may be to all stakeholders concerned, but the disclosure by Youth Affairs and Sports minister Govindas Konthoujam that Manipur figures in the United Nations' drug cartel map now makes it crystal clear that the tiny state has become one of the epicentres of drug smuggling.

Though there should be no second opinion about the state being used as both peddling route and for plantation and manufacturing of narcotic drugs, the minister's remarks underscore the worsening situation, which is also evident from the increasing number of youngsters abusing substances.

In fact, rise in the number of rehabilitation and treatment centres across the state corroborates gravity of the situation for it is obvious that there would be no need for such facilities if there are no clients.

It is not that the government authorities are unaware about seriousness of the situation but what should be of concern to the parents and civil society organisations involved in the campaign to prevent substance abuse is that drug peddling continues unabated amid the government's war on drugs mission.

That the efforts to put an end to drug smuggling and abusing aren't yielding the desired result has been laid bare from the fact that drug consignments continue to be seized by security forces at regular intervals both in Manipur and in neighbouring states like Assam and Nagaland.

Seizures of narcotic drugs are ample evidences that the state is not the transit route for narcotic items smuggled from Myanmar but Manipur itself is gradually transforming into producers of drug making materials such as opium poppy.

Unlike in the past, when heroin used to be smuggled in from across the international border for peddling in mainland parts of the country, instances of seizing opium testifies that there is no shortage of people, especially among the marginalised rural population, who are willing to take the risk of becoming poppy cultivators as well as drug carriers.

In-spite of the government's endeavour to wean away potential poppy planters through distribution of high yielding and profitable agricultural and horticultural crops, it is the lure of easy money and prospect of becoming wealthy overnight that has been emboldening the drug dealers to invest and engage the economically underprivileged section of the society as the couriers of narcotic drugs.

Moreover, the gravity of the drug abuse and smuggling situation, with special reference to the northeast region, was pointed out by Prime Minister Narendra Modi some months back when he advised all the chief ministers to shoulder the responsibility of eradicating both the social malaises.

The PM's instruction also rung out the message that the Union government had been keeping a close watch on whether or not the states concerned have the resolve to save the youth from falling prey to the drug menace or are simply playing to the gallery with tall claims and vowing for a better future.

Thus, having been entrusted the charge of Youth Affairs & Sports minister Govindas Konthoujam is duty bound to enact a practical youth policy, which he assured to the students after expressing remorse that Manipur has figured in the United Nations' drug cartel map.



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