Image: DIPR, Manipur

A two-day regional conference on ‘Developing a Comprehensive Approach: Combating Illicit Trafficking of Afghan Opiates and Drug Situation in the Northeast concluded in Manipur capital Imphal on Tuesday.

The conference was organized by the United Nations on Drugs and Crime Regional Office, South Asia (UNODC-ROSA) in association with the Government of Manipur.

Manipur chief minister N Biren Singh was the chief guest of the concluding function.

The state chief secretary Dr J Suresh Babu, representatives Sergey Kapinos and Jayant Misra of UNODC-ROSA and secretary Devendra Dutt of Institute of Narcotics Studies Analysis besides inspector general of Assam Rifles.

Additional DGP Manipur and other tops officials were also present.

Speaking on the occasion, chief minister Biren has expressed the need for an effective collaboration and co-operation between agencies, communities and countries towards the shared objective of a drug free society for generations to come.

He said Manipur as the land gateway of India to South-East Asia has been for decades dealing with the issues of illegal drug trafficking and related problems.

But since the past two years and a half, the state government has been actively making continuous efforts in dealing with drug menace, he said.

He also added many acres of poppy cultivation had been destroyed besides seizing about 478 kg of opium and about 367 kg of opium derivatives like heroin since 2017.

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

WY is said to be methamphetamine pills also known as ‘yaba’ in countries in South Asia.

Representative Sergey Kapinos of UNODC-ROSA and others also spoke on the occasion.

The conference which was attended by delegates from Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, Sri Lanka and representative from eight north-eastern states, recommended establishment of a formal mechanism to foster greater interaction between law enforcement agencies of member countries and law enforcement agencies in the Northeast.

It also recommended to strengthen alternative development and promoting livelihood opportunities to curb illicit cultivation of opium and cannabis in the north-eastern states.

The conference was inaugurated by the state Governor Dr Najma Heptulla on Monday.

Professor Dr Atul Ambekar of National Drug Dependence Treatment Centre, AIIMS and deputy director general B Radhika of Narcotics Control Bureau provided an overview of the drug situation in India, with informative presentations focused on both the law enforcement and health perspectives of the issue.

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