Manipur declares war on poppy cultivation

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Imphal, Mar 17 (ANI): Unscrupulous elements are exploiting conditions to cultivate and reap rich profits from illicit opium poppy seeds in remote border area villages of Manipur.

As per reports the crude produce of poppy grown in the state is being smuggled out to cater to the Golden Triangle through the porous Indo-Myanmar border.

The Golden Triangle is located in the hilly terrains of the South East Asian countries namely Thailand, Myanmar, Laos and Vietnam, and is considered to be one of the largest heroin producing zones of the world.

India allows poppy cultivation under licence in very small pockets and under strict supervision with the produce solely used for medicinal use.

The Anti-Narcotics Department of Manipur has noted high income generated from the poppy cultivation and demand from Myanmar has led the villagers in the border vicinity of the province to the illicit crop growing.

"It has been going on for quite some time because the economic condition of villagers where these plantations are going on is very bad. Since the income generated from the plantations of poppy is quite high, the villagers are indulging in it and the demand from the Myanmar side is also very high and so most of the villages which are in the immediate vicinity of Myanmar, those border villages, most of the villages (are) involved in these illicit cultivations," S Amirlal Sharma, Superintendent of Narcotics and Affairs in Border (NAB), Government of Manipur.

As a part of the campaign to ensure that Manipur does not turn into a haven for drug smugglers and producers, mass destruction of poppy plants was carried out at Nongmaiching (Baruni hill range), Ukhrul and Churachandpur areas.

"A number of special raids by the narcotics and EFR's (Eastern Frontier Rifles) in Manipur and different parts of Manipur in the month of February, earlier also in January of this year," added Sharma.

Soil texture and weather conditions of Manipur are said to be suitable for the wild growth as well as cultivation of high yielding poppy varieties including Bhang and Ganja. (ANI)

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