Drugs and manufacturing units: Who are the kingpins?

The reports came thick and in quick succession. These reports are nothing to be rejoiced about rather they are quite disturbing. Reports of destruction of poppy plantations and seizure of contraband drugs of different types came in from different parts of the tiny State in almost cyclic manner, seemingly without any end. Of late, these disturbing reports are interspersed by alarming reports of busting of contraband drug manufacturing units. Of course, couriers of these contraband drugs were also arrested when the drugs were seized. Again, poppy plantations were destroyed but there has been no report of arresting any poppy planter so far. There have been several cases of seizure of huge consignments of drugs, but there is no report of arresting any kingpin or drug lord except in a couple of isolated cases. The latest report of busting drug manufacturing unit came on January 8 when a team of NAB busted a brown sugar laboratory at East Phaijang village, Saikul. On June 29 last year, a heroin/brown sugar manufacturing unit was busted at Lilong Dam area apart from seizure of contraband drugs worth Rs 100 crore. It was this eye-opening discovery which gave rise to some serious questions. Are there more such factories manufacturing narcotic drugs clandestinely in the State? Who are the bosses of these illegal but lucrative drug enterprises? On August 17 last year, another drug manufacturing unit was busted at Moijing Awang Leikai in Thoubal district. If we look at the files of police stations located across the State, a considerable portion of them would be about seizure of drugs but how seriously police investigate into these cases is anybody’s imagination. The situation is growing from bad to worse. Every case of seizure of drugs demands a very thorough and impartial investigation. The investigation must go down to the very bottom otherwise drug cartels may grow into most powerful groups in the society. Seizure of drugs, that too in huge quantities, is not something new in the State. Seizure of drugs is rather becoming a regular affair.
Till some years back, Manipur only served as a transit route for smuggling drugs from the infamous Golden Triangle to mainland India and elsewhere. But today, poppy plantations on commercial scale and clandestine drug manufacturing units have become an ugly reality in the State.  International watch dogs on drugs trade have already affirmed that Manipur is the opium producer for the infamous Golden Triangle. Here, we cannot help asking if poppy-based drugs are now manufactured within Manipur. It’s time to strike all drug smugglers and drug enterprises hard and decisively. With the narcotic drugs made readily available through clandestine networks in the State, more and more of our youth are becoming drug abusers and ultimately addicts. The menace of drug is often all pervasive and disastrous. Apart from draining the State’s economy, it can corrupt an entire generation and destroy the very soul and spirit of a nation. If the seizure of huge consignment of drugs in the past three/four years was any indication, we fear, some well connected and influential drug cartels are thriving in the State. The law enforcing agencies need to pull up these cartels and destroy their clandestine networks. The war against drugs should not be restricted to arresting couriers, if the Government is determined to win it. Perhaps, one reason for the failure to end opium plantation in Manipur could be on account of the involvement of top-notch personnel. Moreover, in the present situation, there are reports of involvement of (apart from local elements) drug mafias from foreign countries such as China, Myanmar, Bangladesh and Nepal. If this is the case, the war against drugs must be fought both within the State and beyond, of course with the help of the neighbouring countries.