Legalising plantation of Cannabis under consideration: CM

Legalising plantation of Cannabis under consideration: CM

TMB Report

IMPHAL: On the sixth day of the ongoing tenth session of the 11th Manipur Legislative Assembly session, Chief Minister N Biren Singh said that the State GST (SGST) collection is going good with a total collection of Rs 640.74 crores (till January month) for this fiscal year and is most likely to reach the target of Rs 861.87 crores. Also, the idea of legalising plantation of cannabis is ‘under consideration’ by the state government, he said and the present government is always committed to fight the drug menace prevalent in the state.

During the Question Hour, while addressing to a response raised by Opposition MLA Shri O Surjakumar Singh, Biren said that the target of Rs 662.09 crores for the previous year was outreached as the state government managed to collect Rs 694.70 crores that year. On asking about the amount of compensation received by the state so far from the Central Government, he replied that the state government has not received any compensation from the Central government and there is no pending amount.

On the other hand, responding to MLA Kh Joykishan Singh, the leader of the House said the state government is considering legalization of cannabis plantation, and added, if implemented, the purpose will be solely for medicinal purposes and earning more revenue to the state. The government however will not take any hasty decisions in this matter, and will carefully measure the pros and cons before coming to a conclusion. Regarding the mass drive to destroy poppy plantation, 1952 acres of illicit poppy cultivation in seven districts were destroyed (during September 2019 to 16 February, 2020) jointly by the police and other agencies, and 32 cases have been registered in this connection, he added.

Meanwhile, the state government is working seriously to bring out the truth in the infamous incident of alleged molestation of a lady IPS officer by personnel of Central force at a check post along Imphal-Moreh Road. Biren said that the government has been taking the incident seriously and the matter has been discussed in the cabinet meeting too. A case was filed by the lady officer in Tengnoupal PS on 19/01/2020 which is registered as FIR No. 12 (1) 2020/ Moreh PS. The case is currently under investigation.

 Chief Minister N Biren who also holds the Home department said that Investigating Officer has summoned PK Pandey of 12 Assam Rifles, Khudengthabi to appear at Moreh Police station in connection with the alleged physical assault and molestation of a lady IPS officer. The summon was served to the AR jawan through registered post under section 160 CrPC.

Replying to a query raised by Opposition MLA Kh Joykishan, the chief minister said that the incident took place at Assam Rifles Khudengthabi check post when the lady IPS officer who was in civil dress and accompanied by her security escorts, was returning from Moreh after an official duty. Following a written complaint by the lady officer with the allegation against the AR personnel of physical assault and molestation, Moreh PS on January 19, 2010 registered an FIR case no.12(1)2020/Moreh PS. Despite repeated attempts to arrest the offending AR personnel on several occasions, police could not arrest the accused by entering the AR camp as personnel of the central para military forces are given protection under section 45 CrPC. As such, the IO served show cause notice to Assam Rifles thrice. The Assam Rifles authority refused to accept the first summon. As such, another second summon was served. However, the Post Commander of the 12 Assam Rifles sent a reply in which he stated that the accused personal could not appear at the police station citing that he had been deployed in an insurgency sensitive area. In reply to the third police summon, the post commander stated that the accused could not be sent to the police station as a court martial proceeding had been initiated against him.

Taking serious note of the incident, the state cabinet also discussed the issue threadbare and approached the Union Home ministry to initiate action against the erring personnel.

As government strongly felt that the lady IPS officer would not have wrongly charged the AR personnel, the FIR case was registered against him, added the CM.

Replying to another query raised by MLA Kh Joykishan, the chief minister said that government is considering the legalize plantation of Cannabis in the state. 1952 acres of illicit poppy plantation in seven districts-Kangpokpi, Ukhrul, Senapati, Chandel, Kakching, Thoubal, and Churachandpur have been destroyed during the crop year September 2019 to 16th February 2020 jointly by police and other agencies and 32 cases have been registered.

The chief minister further said that cannabis plantation has started in some parts of the country including India for medicinal purpose. Keeping this in view, state government was just considering to start Cannabis plantation for medicinal and industrial purposes and there is no final decision to legalize ganja and start cultivation immediately till date.

Stating that the state is a fertile land for Cannabis plantation, the chief minister observed that state revenue can be boosted once it is legalized. Reports have been collected about how Cannabis plantation is being carried out in the states of Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh etc., he stated adding that the administration will not take up any work which will harm the state.

Despite having registered 32 cases in connection with Poppy plantation, Police has not arrested any accused as such plantation is carried out by unknown persons in remote and unclaimed hill areas. No owner claims the plantation. What police is doing is to destroy the plantation from time to time. To prevent such plantation, Government is considering taking up alternative livelihood programs for the villages where poppy plantation is widely carried out. For this, Government has interacted with the villagers, CSOs etc, added the CM.

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