Drug menace : A strong fight needed War on Drugs : Give it more teeth

Taking the appeal against the acquittal of Lhoukhosei Zou in the infamous drug haul case of 2018 to the High Court of Manipur, albeit with a strong nudge from the Supreme Court of India, the news that two women drug dealers have been sentenced to 14 years Rigorous Imprisonment and the tough talk delivered by Chief Minister N Biren against poppy plantations and clearly the drug menace is something to be worried about. War on Drugs should be more than a slogan and even as the Government is expected to put its best foot forward to take the fight to the drugs menace, there is the need to study and explore all options to give more teeth to the slogan. The first step would be to acknowledge the fact that Manipur could be much more than a transit zone if one takes into consideration the fact that drug manufacturing units have been busted here in the past. Other than busting the said unit, coupled with the arrest of some individuals, not much has been heard on the follow up action that ought to have been followed. Or is it a case of ‘bust a drug manufacturing unit, with the arrest of some individuals,’ and let the matter end there ? Isn’t there some kind of a follow up action ? Who are the kingpins or the brain behind setting up the drug manufacturing unit ? What can be said with a degree of certainty here is that no fly by night operator would be a position to finance and set up something like a drug manufacturing unit. This calls for some influence, money and reach to be able to set up such a unit but the sad part is no big fish has ever been netted. The most that one get to hear is the arrest of some drug pushers from the streets of Imphal and from along the Moreh-Imphal route. It is also not uncommon to see statements issued by the police stating, ‘substances suspected to be heroin’ have been recovered from so and so individual with no follow  up story the next day. Was the suspected substance actually heroin or not ? Why are there no follow up reports such as whether the seized items were actually drugs or something else. This is where the line ‘give more teeth’ gains credence.
It should also be more than clear now that there could be a well established network of people, a sort of a syndicate, behind the drug trade. And a syndicate obviously cannot exist in a vacuum and it is this intricate network that the Government should strive to break. That the Chief Minister has come out so strongly against Poppy plantations in some parts of the State is noted, but as pointed out here in earlier commentaries, the Government would need to nail not only the farmer who actually till the soil and plant the Poppy. Who finances the whole thing ? Who comes and buys the end product of the Poppy plants ? These are basic questions which should be dealt with sincerely. Net some of the big fishes and more names may come tumbling out. Poppy is being cultivated because they provide easy money to the farmers in the hill areas. Something which they cannot earn cultivating vegetables or crops. This is a fact and the next logical step should be to study and investigate who buys the end product of the Poppy plantations ? Logic says that the farmer who tills the hill slope to grow the Poppy plants would not exactly be going to the ‘market’ to sell the produce of the season, and it is more than likely that the buyers would come to the place where the said plant is cultivated. It is also probable that the process of planting the Poppy plants, threshing or cutting them, the packaging etc are all financed step by step with perfect understanding between the grower and the buyer. The task at hand is not easy but sincerity of purpose and the willingness to look beyond the obvious and go for the big fishes may be just what the doctor recommended to fight the drug disease.