TODAY -

Poppy plantation and possible emergence of narco terrorism in Manipur

Dr A Jayanta Kumar *



The State of Manipur which is close to the infamous Golden Triangle has been effected by the menace of drug abuse for the last 4/5 decades. Young people have been effect by the menace. The problem has not shown any sign of decrease.

The State survey conducted by the Galaxy Club, the Jawaharlal Nehru Medical college supported by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Government of India in the year 2015 shows that the size of drug abusers for all chemicals in the State is of 38,819 on mean which is quite huge considering the small size of the population.

The data collected from the 26 drug treatment centres in the State which are funded by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment Govt of India shows that the choice of chemical that 36% of them take heroin and the remaining take drugs like Spasmoproxyvon, Amphetamine, Corex, Phensydyl etc.

The National survey conducted in 2018 by the Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment Government of India and published in Feb 2019 and available on the Website of the Minstry shows the size of the drug abuser of only herion as 54200 which is a huge spike.

The survey from the drug treatment centers also shows that there is a mark shift in the choice of chemical by the abusers. Herion which is a derivate from opium has occupied 76 % which was earlier only 36% of the users and only 24% for other chemical. The easily availablility, cheap price and the well organized heroin market of even delivering at home and schools could be the cause of shift.

The absence of a concrete plan of the State Government to tackle the problems has also compounded the matter. There is no sign or evidence to show that the problem is controlled or has gone down which is evident from the increased number of drug users seeking treatment in the various centers.

The increasing number of new drug users coming for treatment only show it is going from bad to worse. The State has 26 drug treat centres supported by the the Govt of India, one by the State Government and about 60 private treatment centres and they are overloaded beyond capacity.

In this contest the cultivation of poppy in the hill area of Manipur could be one of the main reasons. People working in opium cultivation and synthesis have become victims of the chemical.

Many of the herion users have admitted to their active participation in poppy plantation. The possibility of converting the poppy plantation areas from mere cultivating area to a heroin manufacturing areas cannot be ruled out making Manipur another Golden Triangle in the country.

The easily availability of chemical like Acetic Anhydase in India required to manufacture herion makes things easier. The National Highway No 2 leading to Guwahati and rest of the country suit the business perfectly.

The point here is not the ill effect of poppy cultivation on the general population as they have been taking heroin earlier before such poppy plantation. The serious concern is the possibility of such narcotic business becoming funding sources of terrorist organization to buy weapon, recruit cadres and mobilize community.

We should remember that the infamous Golden Triangle was only to generate fund for the Shan Military army to liberate their State and not for any other purposes. General Khun Sha used the money to wage war for liberation of the Shan state with his 9000 army. The Opium business in the Golden Crescent in Afghanistan are largely meant to fund terrorist in Afghanistan which slowly spread to India.

Besides the danger of Narco terrorism, the point is most of the cadres become addicted to the substance and they become totally dependent on the organization for their drugs and thereby do not leave the organization. Besides heroin addiction show not impairment of behavior or judgment as long as the drug is with them.

In view of all these facts, the State Government or the Govt of India should not take the poppy plantation in the hill districts as a mere social issue affecting our children but an issue which could pose serious National security problems in future, if not tackled in time.


* Dr A Jayanta Kumar wrote this article for The Sangai Express
The writer is a recipient of the Padma Shri Award for working in the field of Drug Abuse
and is at present Director of the State Level Coordinating +Agency on Drugs
under the Govt of India, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment
This article was webcasted on 06 June 2023.



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