Imphal: Drug is a powerful weapon that has the power to keep a society spiritless. The drug makes our life meaningless. The Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, said, “Drugs bring with it darkness, destruction and devastation. Addiction is neither cool nor a style statement”. In its persistent bid to revitalize the youth and to ensure Manipur is free from drugs, the state government has launched an all-out War on Drugs 2.0.
The first cabinet meeting of the newly formed Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) government has resolved to make Manipur a drug free state. Chief Minister N Biren Singh himself is seen taking distinctive concentration to end the menace of drugs and create a healthy society with a favourable ecosystem for sports and entrepreneurship in Manipur.
The determination of BJP led government’s zero-tolerance toward drugs was shown during the last five years of government with the launching of the War on Drugs in 2018. For the first time, fast track courts were established for speedy trials of accused drug smugglers.
The campaign had significantly subsided the menace of drugs during the five years. This time, the government has intensified and renewed its War on Drugs into 2.0.
The campaign was necessitated with the high incidence of drug trafficking and addiction in the state during the last 15 years of the Congress regime, where even elected representatives and government officials were arrested for indulging in the illegal drug business. The situation was again worsened as Manipur shares a border with Myanmar, and drugs produced in the Golden Triangle (an infamous region comprising rural mountains of Myanmar, Laos, and Thailand known for its mass production of illegal drugs) entered India via Manipur, Mizoram and Nagaland. Besides, the state became a hotspot for drug peddlers due surge in the plantation of the poppy from which opium is derived.
In the 2.0 of the War on Drugs, the state government has become bolder and tougher than earlier. A day after the formation of the government, a forceful Anti-Narcotics Task Force (ANTF) was formed under an IGP rank police officer. This time, the drug peddlers were warned to surrender or face dire consequences. Strategies like satellite mapping and drone surveys are adopted to win the fight by identifying poppy plantation areas.
The determination and integrity of the ANTF is another valuable addition. Even police personnel were arrested for the illegal drug trade. Recently, a Manipur state police personnel identified as D. Letkholun Haokip was arrested by Tengnoupal police on April 2, 2022, for smuggling Brown Sugar worth around 7.7 cr in the international market. The district police, NAB and forest department are in-charge of destroying acres of illegal poppy cultivation in different parts of Manipur.
As per media reports, ANTF had recovered illegal drugs worth around Rs 50 cr from March 22, 2022, to April 5, 2022, and destroyed not less than 600 acres of poppy cultivation land.
The government has left no stone unturned to obliterate the menace of drugs. On a daily basis, kgs of narcotics and illegal drugs are being recovered, drug smugglers are being arrested, illegal cultivation of drugs is being destroyed, and illegal drug factories are being seized. At the same time, the government is encouraging poppy growers to surrender and avail financial help for alternative horticulture and agriculture crops. Still, to make a drug free Manipur is in the hands of the people. All need to support and cooperate with the ongoing War on Drugs.