Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh has reaffirmed his commitment to eliminate illegal poppy cultivation in the northeastern state, stating that concerted efforts are underway to combat this menace. In a review meeting convened at the CM Secretariat on Thursday, strategies and measures to tackle the issue were discussed.
Singh disclosed that satellite mapping and surveys using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are being employed to identify the locations of poppy plantations. Images of the illicit cultivation were handed over to the superintendents of police of Kangpokpi, Churachandpur, Senapati, and Ukhrul districts, with instructions to eradicate the plantations by the end of the month, aided by other agencies.
Emphasising the urgency, Singh highlighted the ongoing poppy harvesting season and the need to destroy the plantations before harvesting occurs. Furthermore, the Chief Minister expressed gratitude to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah for the Central Government’s decision to erect fencing along the India-Myanmar border and suspend the Free Movement Regime (FMR). Singh commended the progress of sophisticated hybrid fencing along 1 km of the border and announced plans for additional fencing along 20 km of vulnerable stretches prone to illegal firearms trafficking and immigration.
With Manipur sharing 398 km of border with Myanmar, Singh noted that 10 km has already been fenced. While the decision to fence the entire 1,643-km-long India-Myanmar border and suspend the FMR has been welcomed by the Imphal Valley-based Meiteis, hills-based tribal Kukis and Nagas have voiced opposition, citing concerns about severed ethnic ties with kin across the border.
In addition, Singh thanked Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman for the decision to establish a High Powered Committee to address challenges arising from rapid population growth and demographic changes. He highlighted the longstanding demand for a population commission in Manipur, stating that the committee formed by the Centre will fulfill the aspirations of the state’s people.