Today, Tangkhul community led by Tangkhul CSO and student organisations have met CM N Biren and pledges to stand against poppy plantation and drugs in the Tangkhul areas. N Biren’s call for war on drugs is gaining support in the hills and appeal the valley to come forward as well. Few days ago, the Poumai Naga Union, Poumai Naga Women’s Union and other CSO leaders have met CM N Biren and submitted a resolution declaring Poumai areas as “Drug Free Zone”. This decision to declare a “Drug Free Zone” and against poppy plantation was arrived at during the Poumai General Body Meeting held on April 28, 2022.
The concept of “Drug Free Zone” sounds perfect which will surely help the ongoing War on Drugs 2.0. Our State has dozens of CSO, Student organisations, Women groups (Meira paibi) in every locality. If they follow the Poumai tribes model, then Manipur will be soon ready to declare “Drug Free State”.
We should also engage schools and colleges which are soft targets for the drug peddlers. Organisations like the Alliance for Drug Free Manipur (ADFM) is working towards educating the students and youths to stay away from drugs.
Most drug users of Manipur are teenagers. Around 24,000 children-cum-adolescent population are using various forms of drugs. A recent study on the prevalence and pattern of substance used among the higher secondary school students of Imphal in Manipur reveals that out of 1,020 students, 551 had reports of prior substance use, which is alarming for a tiny state like Manipur.
As per report from SAIYON Drug De-addiction and Research Centre in Imphal East, so far 921 clients were enrolled since its inception. The enrollment age between 18 to 29 years increased from 58 per cent in 2016 to 64 per cent in 2022.
Similarly, Good Will Home Rehabilitation Centre located at Nambol also says 2,456 inmates were enrolled in the centre till now. Of the total enrollment, and most of the inmates enrolled in the centre are in the age group between 25 to 35 years.
It would be not wrong to say drug smugglers and peddlers operating in the state are targeting youths. This need to be checked and stringent action must be taken against the culprits.
Ever since N Biren Singh return to power for the second term, War on Drugs 2.0 is the key points. Lot of activities are seen by the people. Third November 2018 is a watershed in the history of war on drugs. On this day, N Biren Singh kick started the campaign to curb smuggling of drugs. Several poppy plantations were also destroyed in the hills. Huge consignments of drugs were seized and even brown sugar factories were also unearthed.
On 9th April 2018, CM N Biren led govt set up fast track courts for speedy trials of accused drug smugglers. For this, a committee was formed with Principal Secretary (Home) as chairman, an ADG as vice-chairman to tackle the issue of drug menace in the State.
Last month, an Anti-Narcotics Task Force (ANTF) was formed under an IGP rank police officer, along with the SIT to expedite NDPS cases. Besides,Special Judge, NDPS Bishnupur has sentenced two women convicts to undergo 14 years rigorous imprisonment who were arrested along with around 13 kilograms of Opium in 2017. The Court also slapped a fine of Rs one lakh each.
N Biren has came out strongly against illegal poppy plantation and issued a strong warning making it clear that the present government will not spare anyone found involved in the drug business or poppy plantation. The drug menace has strongly affected our society, the Chief Minister has said, reiterating that there will be no compromise on any drugs related issue.
N Biren also warned police personnel using drugs or trafficking drugs or with records of drug abuse. Those involved will be either suspended or put into rehabilitation centres and be terminated after following proper legal process.
Previous Congress govt was blamed for involvement of political leaders in several drugs related cases. This time N Biren has assured the people that there will not be a single political intervention or pressure on any drug or anti-national related cases. He promises that he will personally deal with interventions, if there is any.
What is more welcoming in the War on Drugs is the people’s unflinching support and active participation. Last year, 30 different communities came together to support war on drugs of the government. They pledged to support and contribute their best efforts to transform the then BJP led govt’s ‘War on Drugs’ into a people’s war. Biren also announced an award of Rs 10 lakh for Peh village in Ukhrul district for destroying a massive poppy cultivation.
If Biren wants to see Manipur as “Drug Free State”, schemes like rewarding “Drug Free Zones” must be given on priority basis. His clarion call is now people’s war. This will be huge achievements of Biren led government in the days to come.
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