TODAY -

State used as transport route of drugs
- The People's Chronicle Editorial :: January 19, 2022 -



PERIODICAL seizure of substantial quantities of heroin, brown sugar and other psychotropic drugs from different parts of the state as well as confiscation of drug consignments and arrest of peddlers in neighbouring states corroborate that Manipur is being used as the primary route of transportation.

Due to its geographical location in the eastern most corner of the country and being one of the states nearest to the notorious golden triangle, it is obvious that drug dealers would be enticed to take advantage of the porous borders and corruptible officers or personnel of law enforcement agencies to amass wealth.

While transportation of drugs through the state and its abuse had been unstoppable in-spite of the relentless efforts and campaign by both government institutions and non-governmental organisations, it is the growing instances of plantation of poppies in the hill districts, seizure of opium and involvement of local youth in peddling psychotropic substances which pose serious threat to the society.

The arrest of five people from different parts of the state on Sunday and recovery of a handful of grams of heroin from them indicate that job crunch and limited avenues of livelihood activities have been driving some youngsters to take to drug dealing as the source of income generation.

Considering the fact that the kingpins are seldom brought to book, it could be safely stated that the drug menace will continue to imperil the society.

No doubt, some local organisations are proactively involved in helping the police round up the drug peddlers but it is failure to pin the main suppliers and financiers of poppy plantation which is a cause of concern.

While preventing cross-border smuggling of heroin wouldn't be feasible till the porous Indo-Myanmar borders are completely sealed and movement of settlers along the border belt in Manipur sector minutely monitored, the fight against poppy cultivation and production of opium in the state can be won only if economically viable alternatives are provided to farmers, who are hitherto excluded from development initiatives.

Although the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 lists poppy as a contraband substance known for its psychotropic effects, the plant is being extensively cultivated in the interior hill areas of the state-Illegal poppy cultivation for opium has been in existence for almost a decade, but production has increased manifold in the last few years.

It's an undeniable fact that in various corners of the hill districts, poppy plants are grown barely a few kilometres away from villages, which suggests that such illegal activities wouldn't be possible without the knowledge of general population or chiefs of the villages concerned.

Unlike in the i98os and 90s when cases of drug addiction and deaths due to heroin overdose used to be rampant, and rate of HIV/AIDS infection was disturbingly high, sustained efforts by civil societies and NGOs managed to bring down the level of drug abuse to some extent.

However, the respite from the drug menace wouldn't last long in case government authorities do not galvanise all available machinery and manpower to destroy poppy plantations before they are harvested and stringently punish the kingpins under the law of the land, so as to make the government's war of drugs slogan meaningful from every aspect.



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