TODAY -

Multiple hurdles in battling drug menace
- The People's Chronicle Editorial :: January 18, 2023 -



Similar to the state government's move for halting provision of food-grains under the National Food Security Act to the entire villagers as punishment for defying instruction to stop poppy plantations, there is no reason why the five commando personnel arrested on Monday with huge quantities of banned psychotropic drugs should not be terminated from service.

Relentless plantation of poppy in-spite of being repeatedly advised to abstain from the same and assurance given by the government to provide alternative means of livelihood implies that these villages are living under the impression that the authorities wouldn't be in a position to initiate punitive actions due to remoteness of their area of settlement.

Though it is unlikely that denial of food-grain provision would have any immediate impact, effective execution of the punitive action along with sustaining the drive to destroy poppy plantations would eventually create some inconveniences to the locals as there is no guarantee that the edibles stocked out of the evil money earned would last for long.

Moreover, deletion of the defaulting villages from the government's schemes might compel some God-fearing villagers to disclose identities of who actually is/are funding the poppy cultivation.

Thus, it is advisable that besides conveying gravity of the situation arising out of extensive poppy plantations in the hills to the Union government, CAF & PD minister L Susindro should start necessary process for translating into action his proposal to union minister Piyush Goyal for suspension of NFSA benefits to people of poppy cultivating villages, as any sort of leniency will only lead to expansion of poppy cultivation areas and cause irreparable damage to the environment.

As mentioned in the letter, the Union minister has been elaborated on launch of the 'War on Drugs' campaign by the state government, steps taken to encourage people abandon poppy cultivation on-going drives by the district administration, police and forest department personnel to scythe poppy plants.

No doubt, combination of poppy destruction campaigns and appeals to extend support to the drive has been evoking positive response from many villages and concerned stakeholders but minister Susindro listing over 30 villages in three hill districts indulging in widespread poppy cultivation underscore the perilous situation the state and its younger generations might face if firm punitive actions were not taken when there is still time. These

villages brushing aside the government's appeal to give up poppy plantations even as five tribal village chiefs have been arrested and imprisoned or granted bail so far leaves nothing to doubt that the lure of easy money has diluted conscience of the village chiefs.

Moreover, the arrest of five Manipur police commandos with heroin and 'world is yours' psychotropic tablets by Kakching district police on Monday also corroborates that the prospect of getting rich overnight through narcotic drugs has been irresistibly enticing for some rogue elements within the police establishment.

As involvement of security personnel in illegal activities, including transportation of drugs, liquor and gold had been reported in the past as well, it is recommended that the guilty men in uniform be fired from service immediately for they have done serious damage to sincerity, diligence and reputation of the police force, who will ultimately be decisive in winning or losing the much-hyped war on drugs.



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