Mnp CM calls for joint effort to combat drug menace

Mnp CM calls for joint effort to combat drug menace
N Biren Singh and other dignitaries during the valedictory function on Tuesday.
Correspondent IMPHAL, Oct 1 | Publish Date: 10/1/2019 12:22:01 PM IST

Manipur chief minister N Biren Singh Tuesday stressed the need for an effective collaboration and co-operation between agencies, communities and countries to combat drug menace in the society.

Singh was speaking at the valedictory function of the two-day “Regional Conference on Developing a Comprehensive Approach: Combating Illicit Trafficking of Afghan Opiates and Drug Situation in the North East,” organised by the United Nations on Drugs and Crime Regional Office, South Asia (UNODC-ROSA) in association with Manipur government in Imphal’s Classic Grande.

The chief minister said that the South Asian region is straddled between the Golden Crescent and the Golden Triangle. As such, Manipur has been dealing with the issues of illegal drug trafficking and related problems for decades.

Observing that drug trafficking continues to be a lucrative form of business with strong inter-linkages between crime, corruption, drug use and HIV infection, Biren Singh said that this had serious socio-political implications for the affected countries.

He said that the state government in the past two years and half has been actively making continuous efforts to deal with drug menace. 

About 4,897 acres of poppy cultivation had been destroyed in the same period, he claimed. 

The state government has been cracking down on illegal drug production and processing units, seizing crores of rupees worth of drugs and arresting key individuals in the trade, he said and added that about 478 kg of opium and about 367 kg of opium derivatives like heroin had been seized since 2017. 

Concerned agencies also seized close to nine million WY tablets and other banned substances, he added.

The chief minister said that there had been increased vigil at the borders by the concerned authorities. 

Informing that there is an increase in seizure of drugs crossing into the country through the porous borders of Northeast, he said that Manipur in particular is vulnerable to drug trafficking and associated issues like HIV-AIDS and Hepatitis-C.

The state government was also making efforts to create greater awareness amongst the stakeholders and encourage farmers for planting alternate cash crops, he said.

“State government is seeking assistance from the Central government for funding assistance under National Fund for Control of Drug Abuse for promoting alternative livelihood opportunities in areas affected by poppy cultivation,” he informed.

Earlier, the two-day conference passed some recommendation which include establishment of a formal mechanism to foster greater interaction between law enforcement agencies of member countries and law enforcement agencies in India’s Northeast states. This may be facilitated with the development of a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for real-time cooperation and coordination on live cases of drug trafficking in the region between member states/Northeast states. 

The broad outline of the SOP will be shared and the draft would be finalised within a month as per the recommendation.

The conference also recommended strengthening alternative development and promoting livelihood opportunities to curb illicit cultivation of opium and cannabis in Northeast states. 

UNODC-ROSA was requested to take initiative to establish and strengthen the South Asia Regional Intelligence and Coordination Centre (SARICC) in addition to an integrated border management mechanism with support from member states to counter illicit trafficking.

Delegates from Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, Sri Lanka, eight North East States, Assam Rifles, BSF and CRPF attended the Regional Conference among others.

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