Last Updated on February 17, 2023 by SPN Editor
Chief Minister N Biren Singh 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 said, reiterating that there will be no compromise on any drugs related issue.
We cannot remain silent anymore, the Chief Minister asserted, adding that the present government has the mandate of the people and will not succumb to the interest of few who are affecting the future of the youth.
N Biren Singh was launching the Direct Benefit Transfer for 18,000 registered farmers under the Horticulture Department for Mission Organic Value Chain Development for North Eastern Region (MOVCDNER), Phase-III (2020-23) on Thursday.
There are altogether 25,000 farmers under Phase-III MOVCDNER, Manipur including 7000 farmers registered under the Agriculture Department and 18,000 farmers under the Horticulture Department.
Today’s programme was held at the Darbar Hall, CM’s Secretariat.
Speaking at the event as the Chief Guest, Chief Minister Biren called upon the farmers to focus on organic farming and support the government’s mission to convert the State into a total organic State within the next five years.
Stressing on the negatives of chemical fertilizers, the Chief Minister said that chemical fertilizers affect our health and as such there is a need to convert to organic farming. He said that organic farming is in fact easy as preparation of organic manure using kitchen waste and leaf debris is quite easy.
He further expressed belief that there will be an increase in the number of farmers, production and areas covered under the scheme by next year.
Horticulture is very much related to livelihood and health, he said, explaining that the department provides livelihood avenues to uneducated youth and encouraging organic farming helps in improving the health of the people. The Horticulture Department has a major role in making Manipur self-reliant, improving the State’s economy and health sector, he added.
In an appeal to illegal poppy planters in the hills, the Chief Minister said that this is his last appeal to do away with poppy plantations and take up alternative livelihood. He also said that he has apprised the Centre of the issue and highlighted that without proper rehabilitation, the issue has led to severe ecological imbalances and land erosion in the hills due to extensive use of chemical fertilisers, inability to save forest, etc.
He further said that the government is ready with all assistance for alternative arrangement under any department whether under Horticulture or Veterinary and that it should be initiated from a district initially.
He further highlighted that the NDPS Act has also been amended and steps are being taken up to de-recognise villages found involved in poppy plantation.
A government constituted committee is there to identify the number of houses in a village and which villages are involved in poppy plantation, the Chief Minister said, adding that if the need arises the Hill Area Committee or Revenue Department or any other will be consulted.
Hinting at interference from certain organisations, the Chief Minister said that the elected representatives are here to govern the State and all 60 members are working for the future of Manipur.
He further said that we should have some civic sense and think of our neighbours also. Let us all live together in unity and face the challenges thrown at us, he added. The Chief Minister also said that action will be taken against those who made provoking and communal comments.
Biren warned of legal action against illegal encroachers and said the government will give one month’s time for them to come before the government.
The Chief Minister also stressed on the government’s stand on corruption and said that government recruitments will only be merit based and there will be no corruption. He urged the people to be part of the change. He said that the DBT system hinders corruption and there is no harassment in the system.
Horticulture and Soil Conservation Minister Letpao Haokip said poppy plantation affects the society in two ways which are the drug menace in the society and deforestation in the hills. We cannot take this lightly, the Minister said.
The Minister also expressed the need to implement schemes by laying more emphasis on plantations which are more suitable to the State’s soil to ensure successful implementation of the scheme.
The government under Chief Minister N Biren Singh has also assured all possible help in providing alternative sustainable livelihood to stop poppy plantation in the hills, he said, adding that the department will have to take a pivotal role in the fight against poppy plantation.
He added that nature has been very generous to our State, but we are unable to use it.
Delivering the key-note address, Additional Chief Secretary, Horticulture and Soil Conservation P Vaiphei said that the Chief Minister has taken a very strong initiative for transparency and accountability, particularly in implementation of e-governance schemes and today’s DBT transfer is one such activity.
The Chief Minister has also been highlighting the need for stopping poppy cultivation in the hill districts of the State and taken it up very passionately, he added.
The Addl CS further made an appeal to all farmers involved in poppy plantation to stop and come forward so that the government may provide all possible assistance or alternative farming programmes.
He also took up an example of a village ‘Peh’ in Ukhrul voluntarily came out and destroyed their poppy plantation last year citing that it is anti-social, bad for the future generation and detrimental to the future of Manipur, the department had taken up various activities in the village. The Chief Minister had deputed a special team from Horticulture Department, who engaged all the people under the MOVCDNER, Manipur and brought them into organic farming under the department, he said.
The Addl. CS also spoke about a study under the advice of the CM to convert Loktak Phumdis into nutrients for agriculture farming and that a Detailed Project Report has been made. The proposal is to convert the phumdis into nutrients which will make the State self-dependent in terms of nutrient production and the nutrients will be chemical free.
The launching programme was also attended by Horticulture and Soil Conservation Director Honey Chara, officials of MOMA, among others.
Direct Benefit Transfer of Rs. 11,250 per farmer for the components of assistance for on-farm input for both first year and second year and for off-farm inputs production for first year was transferred to the individual registered farmer’s account today. Another Rs. 3750 will be transferred to the farmers in the next instalment.