The new task force has 18 members besides police officers and it has experts from Agriculture experts, forensic and cyber-crime experts. The team is mandated to carry out survey , verification and destruction of Poppy cultivation in the state.
Manipur chief minister N Biren Singh on Saturday in Imphal said that a joint committee of the Narcotics Control Bureau and Narcotics and Affairs of Border (NAB) has been formed to survey and destroy poppy plantations.
Singh claimed that a countrywide survey has found a rise in drug and substance abuse among youths of the state, which was the reason why his government launched a ‘war on drugs‘ in 2018.
While making the announcement, the Chief Minister told the media that destruction of illegal poppy cultivation would continue in the state.”
Earlier Singh stated that as the North Eastern states bear the brunt of protecting the entire nation from the menace of drugs, all Chief Ministers of the region must unite and establish a robust mechanism that will enable them to join forces in this noble ‘War on Drugs”.Singh had earlier said Myanmar immigrants were responsible for deforestation, poppy cultivation and drug menace in the state.The Manipur government had earlier stated that the government never targeted a particular community, encroachment evictions from the reserve forest and protected forest were done state-wide to preserve forest seeing the deteriorating climatic conditions of the world.
The government has also never targeted a particular community, Manipur had only 28 lakhs population but drugs affected youths reached around 1.4 lakhs.
The government stated drugs spoiled many precious lives in Manipur and India. Manipur had only 28 lakhs population but drugs affected youths reached around 1.4 lakhs, above this Manipur has become a gateway of illegal drugs smuggling to our mainland Indian states.
The state government shared details of people arrested under the Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act. From 2017 to 2023 around 2518 people were arrested.
In 2023 around 80 people were arrested out of which 49 belonged to Kuki-Chin, 16 from Muslims community, 14 Meiteis, others 1. Similarly, in 2017, 82 people from Kuki-Chin, 93 from Muslims community, 44 from Meiteis and 12 from others were arrested. In 2022, 658 people were arrested which included 288 from Kuki-Chin, 210 Muslims, 98 Meitei and 62 others.
The poppy cultivation in Manipur stood at 15496.8 acres. Kuki Chin community area in 2022-23 accounted for 804 acres, Nagas areas 350 acres. In 2017-18 Kuki Chin area accounted for 2001 acres, Nagas 229.
The state government stated since 2017 around 291 encroachers are evicted/removed from the forest land. These include several districts Imphal East, Imphal East, Kangpokpi, Thoubal, Noney. People from Meitei, Pangal, Kabui, and Kuki were removed.
The state government had launched a tirade against illegal poppy cultivation by destroying poppy fields in the forest land, especially in the reserve and protected forests in the hilly areas.
The Indigenous Tribal Leaders’ Forum had alleged that despite several memorandums on the ongoing eviction drive to clear reserved forested areas of farmers and other tribal settlers, the government has not taken any note.
Manipur witnessed unprecedented violent clashes, attacks, counter attacks and arsoning of houses, vehicles and government and private properties in more than 10 districts during and after May 3 ‘Tribal Solidarity March’ called by the All Tribal Students’ Union of Manipur (ATSUM) to oppose the demand for inclusion of the Meitei community in the Scheduled Tribe category. Manipur police has stated that as many as 175 people were killed, 1,108 others injured while 32 are missing in the ongoing ethnic strife which started on May 3.