The Relentless War On Drugs 2.0 Campaign’s real hero and the winner is the people of Manipur

The Relentless War On Drugs 2.0 Campaign’s real hero and the winner is the people of Manipur

By Laimayum Bashanta Sharma

War On Drugs Was Declared As A Core Mission On 3rd November 2018 by Hon’ble CM of Manipur Shri N. Biren Singh. Multiple reasons compelled the state government led by Hon’ble CM to declare this all-important war. The statistical data gathered from government and mainstream media sources were simply mind-boggling. Manipur with hardly 0.2 % of the country’s population contributes nearly 8% of India’s total HIV-infected population. What is more concerning is that HIV infection among the IDUs(Intravenous drug users) had increased enormously from 2% to 3% in 1989 to 50% in 1991 and mind-blowing 64% in 2000. HIV/AIDS pandemic has emerged as a serious public health emergency and seems near impossible task to halt the ever-increasing rate. HIV transmission is mainly correlated with sharing of HIV-infected injecting equipment/needles among the IDUs. Initially, the pandemic is confined among the IDUs however gradually it begins to appear among the general public due to unprotected sex with HIV-infected persons and HIV-contaminated blood transfusion. Another main reason that compelled the government is a large-scale plantation of lucrative poppies in almost all the hill districts of Manipur which caused widespread devastation to the environment and thus a drastic change in the ecosystem. The Hon’ble Chief Minister of Manipur after analysing the overall devastating impact of drugs on the people of Manipur felt the need to protect and safeguard the next generation and future generations, from the menace of the drug trade and drug abuse, and decided to launch the war on drugs.

The War On Drugs Campaign 1.0 and 2.0

Manipur may be a small state however she shares a 398 km long porous border with Myanmar which in turn shares proximity to the notorious golden triangle- the largest international drug trade centre which is infamous for producing one of the largest volumes of high-grade heroin and opium.

Manipur is one of the main transit routes of drug trafficking due to its proximity to the Golden Triangle. The area of illegal poppy plantations (raw material for extracting opium) increased by around 6000 acres between 2017-2018. Because of this large-scale cultivation of poppy, Manipur was poised to end up as the main poppy producer in the country. Alarmed by this development the state drug enforcement agency NAB (Narcotics and border affairs), state security forces and villagers collaborated to destroy a large number of poppy plantation sites in a coordinated effort. An unprecedented 1674 cases were registered against those involved in the illegal plantation of poppies and drug trading. 2140 people were arrested as a result 321 crore worth of drugs were seized from the domestic market alone. The clarion call given by the Hon’ble Chief Minister received a tremendous response as a record 143 NGOs voluntarily joined the Manipur government in the war on drugs campaign and wholeheartedly support the destruction of rampant poppy cultivation. People of Manipur reposed faith in the leadership of Hon’ble CM N. Biren Singh, gave a mandate to the BJP and thus he returned as chief minister of Manipur for the second consecutive time. Immediately after he was sworn in he began the war on drugs campaign 2.0. This time the people of Manipur(valley as well as hill districts) like being awakened from a deep slumber rose from every nook and corner of the state to support the initiative undertaken by the Hon’ble Chief Minister. Several communities of the state come out voluntarily in support of the war on drugs campaign.

The relentless pursuit of this all-out campaign yielded impressive results. Eg. 150 cases were registered, 191 traffickers were arrested, and Rupees 16.61 crore worth of drugs were seized since march, 2022. Given these developments, It is crucial for the people of Manipur to wholly support this war on drugs campaign waged by the people’s Chief Minister. Besides the large-scale destruction of the poppy plantation across the length and breadth of Manipur, the government of Manipur assisted villagers and poor farmers (providing monetary help, supplying organic fertilisers, seeds and free guidance from experts) to plant alternative organic crops like Ginger, potatoes, trees, fruits, vegetables, etc. Today former drug peddlers and users are adopting alternative sources of income generation like livestock rearing, poultry farming, fish farming, etc, under various government welfare schemes and direct assistance.

The humility of the Hon’ble Chief Minister is such that in appreciation of the overwhelming response from the people of Manipur he has credited the public’s unwavering support for the campaign’s success so far and said government alone cannot achieve success without the support and cooperation of the public.

In conclusion, I would like to appeal to all stakeholders to stay away from the unscrupulous evils or the pro-drug lobbyists. Their bad money enticement (because of the power of money) is extremely tempting and very hard to resist. However, if you are weak and surrender meekly to the temptation please remember the impact it will have on your family, the younger generation and the future generations. Drugs could wipe out an entire community or society. The war on drugs campaigns 2.0 initiative under the aegis of our Hon’ble Chief Minister cannot be won within a stipulated timeline as long as the drug cartels and drug manufacturing hub like the infamous golden triangle exists. The campaign must continue relentlessly till the world is completely free from the menace of drugs. Let’s support the Hon’ble Chief Minister unconditionally to eventually create a legacy that will inspire future generations to emulate him. Say A Firm NO To Drugs Once And For All. To all those covertly involved in drug trafficking please surrender or face unwanted consequences for defying the public will and the law of the land.

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