TODAY -

Widening list of drug dealers
- The People's Chronicle Editorial :: September 01, 2022 -



A day after report of the police summoning chief of S Gelbung village under Sangaikot police station in Churachandpur district in connection with poppy plantation activities, arrest of a 52-year old man, who contested the last assembly election from Wangkhem assembly constituency on the ticket of a national party testifies that preventing drug smuggling or peddling shall be a long drawn battle.

Moreover, a combined team of Ukhrul district police and NAB coming across clearance of 30-35 acres of forest area along the Mapithel hill range and recovering 150 bags of salt, 70 bags of Diamond fertiliser, 20 bags of urea and seven bags of poppy seeds from a hut leave nothing to doubt about anti-social elements hell-bent on diluting the 'war on drugs' campaign of the incumbent government.

Regardless of social commentators sharing the observation that the fight against opium poppy production in Manipur can'be won only if economically viable alternatives are provided to farmers, who are hitherto excluded from development initiatives in the state, recent reports of detection of 5-6 fresh locations of poppy plantations after the series of anti-drug/poppy plantation pledge-taking events held at the chief minister's official residence make it crystal clear that the law enforcement agencies will have to remain on their toes.

The latest discovery of a new poppy cultivation site at Mapithel hill range also indicates that either the village authorities aren't amused with the government's plan to provide legitimate sources of livelihood to the villagers or that the chiefs fear reprisal from anti-social elements if they prohibit poppy plantations in their respective areas.

Nevertheless, information shared by Narcotics and Affairs of Border (NAB) SP K Meghachandra that surveys are being conducted at possible poppy plantation sites through satellite mapping is commendable for law enforcement agencies must be provided all possible technological and manpower support to effectively tackle the drug menace.

According to the NAB SP, the number of charge-sheets filed in connection with drug-related cases has been on the rise, thereby implying the expanding network of the drug dealers.

While it is quite possible that carriage of small quantities of narcotics substances might escape the vigilance of security forces, but use of modern surveillance technologies will definitely ease the task of the security forces to detect any unusual activities in the hills and facilitate preparation to destroy the poppy plants before they are harvested.

Apart from repeated reminders through the traditional media that anyone found planting poppies or dealing in drugs will be punished stringently as per the law of the land, it is suggested that awareness campaigns be carried out at the village level and encouraged to join the anti-drug campaign.

The government authorities may also utilise the service of state-run and privately operated radio stations or take to the social media platforms to remind the people in languages familiar with the rural folks to encourage them help convert the war on drugs campaign a mass movement for it is obvious that taking out anti-drug/alcohol rallies in the capital city will make not deter those funding poppy plantations in remote parts of the state.



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