Imphal: Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has directed the Indian Air Force to destroy poppy plantations before harvest during this season in Manipur.
This information was disclosed when the Republican Party of India (Athawale) national general secretary Maheshwar Thounaojam met Union defence minister Rajnath Singh on Monday at his office in the national capital.
Maheshwar Thounaojam, a resident of Imphal told the newsmen over the phone from New Delhi on Tuesday that during his meeting with Rajnath Singh, he reminded the latter of the destruction of the poppy plantation using the Indian Air Force before being harvested.
He had earlier urged R Singh to launch all-out wars against poppy cultivation in the state.
The poppy plant produces opium, a narcotic substance that can be further processed to produce synthetic drugs such as heroin.
In reply to a question posed by the newsmen, film-star-tuned politician Maheshwar said that he had appealed to the state government to communicate with the defence ministry to begin the destruction of the poppy plantation at the earliest.
Notably, the Coordinating Committee on Manipur Integrity (COCOMI), an umbrella outfit of the Manipur Valley had earlier urged R Singh to destroy the poppy cultivation in the state.
In its efforts to renew the war against drugs, the state Chief Minister N Biren Singh has on September 23, 2023, announced of reinstitution of a joint committee of the Narcotics Control Bureau and Narcotics and Affairs of Border (NAB) to survey and destroy poppy plantations.
Since 2017, the state government destroyed nearly 15,500 acres of poppy fields. Nearly 85% of the area lay in Kuki-dominated districts, according to official data.
According to data from the state’s special anti-drugs unit Narcotics and Affairs of Border (NAB), the scale of poppy cultivation has spread across 15,400 acres of land in the hills between 2017 and 2023 in Manipur.