Manipur: Illegal Poppy farming soon to be replaced by Lemongrass cultivation!

IMPHAL:, April 18 2017: Despite many attempts to stop the illicit poppy cultivation in the state, there seems to be no improvement. To tackle this problem, the state government has offered an viable alternate livelihood sources to the people currently involved in illegal poppy cultivation. 

Sports minister Letpao Haokip said the state government is extending all efforts to provide viable alternate livelihood sources and to motivate the people engaged in cultivation of this illegal but high-return and low-effort crop, agreeing in principle to replace poppy farms with lemongrass cultivation.

Strife-torn Manipur has witnessed massive cultivation of opium crops and ganja despite unrelenting efforts extended by government agencies, anti-drug law enforcing agencies and civil bodies to combat the narcotic trade. Illicit poppy cultivation is found in Ukhrul, Imphal East, Kangpokpi, Churachandpur and Chandel districts.

Since January 4, the state narcotics department has destroyed over 4460 kg of opium worth over Rs 17 crore.

The crude products of poppy grown in the state are smuggled out into the notorious Golden Triangle, one of Asia’s two major illicit heroin and opium-producing areas, through the porous India-Myanmar border that stretches for 380 km in the state. Construction of the 10-km border fence taken up by India along Moreh sector has been stopped after Myanmar troops reportedly encroached on a large chunk of land in India’s territory.

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Addressing a felicitation programme accorded in his honour at Aihang village in Chandel district bordering Myanmar on Saturday, Letpao pointed out the ill-effects of poppy cultivation. He spoke of the adverse environmental impacts of the crop, like large-scale soil erosion brought on by clearance of forest areas, something that is often done before a poppy farm is set up, said a statement issued by the information and public relations department.

The minister also extended an invitation to the chiefs and leaders of the area to attend an awareness and sensitization programme on alternative livelihoods to be held here shortly.

He also said a mini-stadium would be constructed at Aihang village soon at a cost of Rs 50 crore under the non-lapsable central pool of resources (NLCPR). He also announced hordes of development programmes to be implemented in the area, particularly for the welfare of widows and women.

Source: Times of India

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