Drugs and manufacturing units within the State?
Any keen observer would see that reports of seizure of contraband drugs come from different parts of the State every alternate day, if not every day. We are not talking about seizure of drugs in grams or a couple of strips. What has been disturbing the public psyche for quite sometime is the seizure of huge quantity of contraband drugs every now and then. 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, the latest being the seizure of a whopping one lakh, 50 thousand WY tablets from Pallel on September 17. It was also at Pallel that six individuals including the then Defence PRO Col Ajay Chowdhury were arrested together with contraband drugs worth Rs 25 crore on February 24, 2013. Smuggling of drugs through the State has given birth to serious socio-economic and public health problems in the society. As if smuggling is not enough, some enterprising smugglers seemed to have walked the extra mile of setting up drug manufacturing factories in the State. Again, if one takes into account vast poppy cultivations done in different districts, heroin or brown sugar manufacturing establishment was something waiting to be unrolled sooner rather than later. Now it is a reality though an ugly one and already there have been many reports of busting of drug manufacturing units. The clandestine but bustling drug manufacturing units came to light when a heroin/brown sugar manufacturing unit was busted at Lilong Dam area and contraband drugs worth Rs 100 crore were seized on June 29, 2019. Since then, a number of drug manufacturing units have been busted or destroyed at regular intervals in different parts of the State.
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. Who are the bosses of these illegal but lucrative drug enterprises? 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. 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. Now, one can safely conclude that poppy-based drugs are manufactured within Manipur itself, if the reports about busting of clandestine drug manufacturing units are any indication. 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 situation is really grim. The Government, citizens and civil society organisations must work collectively if Manipur must be saved from the jaws of drugs. Although there are numerous cases of seizure of huge consignments of drugs and arrest of couriers, there is no report of arresting any kingpin or drug lord except in a couple of isolated cases. The war against drugs should not be restricted to arresting couriers, if the Government is determined to win it.