Paoyi village setting an example
Unmask those behind
First in Ukhrul district and this is perhaps the first time in the whole of Manipur too. Peh (Paoyi) village in Ukhrul district is right there alone at the top for becoming perhaps the first village in Manipur to come together and voluntarily destroy the illegally grown poppy plantations within the jurisdiction of the village. Encouraging to note too that the BJP led Government at Imphal has taken due note of the course of action taken up voluntarily by the people of Paoyi village to destroy the poppy plantations and announce a cash incentive of Rs 10 lakh. It would also help greatly if the Village Authority of Paoyi take it one step further and disclose the names of those who were behind the poppy plantation. Let it be clear. Poppy plantations cannot be the sole work of the farmers for it goes much beyond the work of tilling the soil and harvesting the crop, and it would not be possible for the farmers of the hills to store and market the produce from the poppy plants. There has to be a well knit organisation in place which will take care of storing the poppy produce, transporting them and yes even converting them to drugs and obviously the farmers who till the field and have probably never set foot outside their village, much less come to Imphal, would have the necessary backing to store them, market them or extract drugs from the poppy produce. Not yet clear whether the State Government has also gone beyond the exercise of destroying poppy plantations at the hill sides and tried to unearth the cartel behind the vast scale plantation of poppy plants. Rounding up the petty drug pusher is fine, but as pointed out on many occasions here earlier, it is the big fishes which the Government should be concentrating on. What are the follow ups after one or two or three drug pushers have been pulled up ? Have any attempts been made to unmask the people who are behind the scene, financing the drug trail and using clouts wherever necessary to take a drug consignment from say Y to Z destination ?
The people of Paoyi have set a good example and the Government will need to go beyond the Rs 10 lakh financial incentive which the Chief Minister has announced. To make the initiative of the Ukhrul village meaningful, the State Government will need to seriously try to unmask those who are responsible for financing the poppy plantations, the people who have obviously taken the hill sides or land on lease from the village or the private owners. This is the bottomline if the war on drugs campaign is to have any tangible significance. Obvious that the drug cartel is powerful and must be highly influential and the State Government will need to go much beyond its one line, catchy slogan, ‘War on Drugs’. The people of Paoyi have already set an example and it is only right that Government agencies too pick up something from the purely voluntary stand of the people of the village and make it more meaningful. Take it beyond Paoyi, let such a stand spread to other villages in the hills and yes unmask those who are behind. For starters let the Government start by understanding the land ownership pattern in the hill areas among the different tribal groups. This could be a good starting point to establish how vast tracts of land on the hills are being used for poppy plantations. This way it would be easier for the Government to fix responsibility. If a stash of drugs or a cache of arms is found on the plot of anyone in Imphal, then surely the Government will know who to pull up first. Apply this methodology while destroying poppy plantations in the hills.