During the ongoing 3rd session of the 12th Manipur Legislative Assembly, Chief Minister Biren Singh stated on the Assembly floor on Saturday that the Manipur government would not compromise on any drug-related issues, and the Suspension of Operation (SoO) agreement with underground outfits would be terminated if they were found to be involved in poppy cultivation. Biren made this statement in response to the policy cut motion raised by opposition MLA Surjakumar Okram, who demanded increased budgetary provision for the War on Drugs campaign, particularly for addressing poppy cultivation.
Biren, who is also the Home Minister of the state, stated that after the installation of 34 police posts at the border areas of Manipur, the state police would be able to prevent 80-90% of the drugs imported into the state through the porous border.
According to Chief Minister Biren Singh, the government has been providing sufficient assistance for alternative livelihoods to poppy cultivation. However, the government will not entertain any demand for compensation for the destruction of poppy cultivation.
He further stated that poppy plants are grown intentionally by some individuals in remote hilly areas to harm society. Although the government had made the SoO agreement with underground outfits to bring peace, if these outfits are found to be involved in poppy cultivation, then there is no need to continue the SoO agreement. Biren believes that this would be an indirect attack on society with the help of drugs, and necessary steps would be taken, including withdrawing the SoO agreement.
He assured the House that over 10% of the poppy cannot be harvested in the upcoming crop season due to the government’s continued efforts to destroy poppy cultivation. The government is using satellite images and drones to identify illegal poppy plantations in remote areas and to spray herbicides to destroy the poppy plants.