Imphal: As part of the state government’s ‘War on Drugs’ campaign, several government agencies and departments have been working together to control the drug menace by destroying poppy plantations in Manipur.

The Horticulture and Soil Conservation Department along with the Manipur Organic Mission Agency (MOMA) has been actively involved in the campaign by providing alternative means of livelihood against poppy cultivation to villages where poppy plantations have been destroyed on large scale.

Peh village in Manipur’s Ukhrul district is one such village where the department has initiated the implementation of an alternative means of livelihood against poppy plantation.

A team of officials from the Horticulture and Soil Conservation Department and MOMA, on Monday, visited the village for inspection as well as the implementation of alternative sources of livelihood in the village.

Moon Shimray, chairman of Peh village, said that considering the ills of poppy plantation on the society, the Peh village council along with the local youths had destroyed poppy plantations in the area some years back.

Lauding the initiative taken up by the villagers of Peh, Chief Minister N Biren Singh had awarded the village with an amount of Rs 10 lakh, he said, adding that a market shed was also constructed under the Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture.

Further lauding the present government under CM Biren Singh, Shimray said that under the guidance of the chief minister, apple saplings were also provided to the village and plantation will begin before June. He also thanked MOMA for identifying and providing funds to over 100 beneficiaries. These beneficiaries will begin Kiwi plantations at the earliest, he added.

With these actions, CM Biren Singh has shown that the brotherhood between the hills and the valley is not just in words but also in action, he said.

Further stating that the village is fortunate to receive all the attention, Shimray said the villagers are working very hard in order to achieve success with the alternative means of livelihood that has been provided by the government and sought further cooperation from the department. 

District Officer, Horticulture & Soil Conservation Ukhrul and Kamjong, Yeite Khupsorel Koireng said that officials of the department are in the village to inspect implementation of the alternative means of livelihood against poppy cultivation in the village.

He said that in February last year, leaders and villagers of Peh village apprised the chief minister of poppy plantations in the village and the subsequent destruction of the illegal cultivation. Following this, the chief minister expressed the desire to take up some alternative plantations as means of livelihood in the area, he added.

Koireng explained that the villagers had already started planting vegetables like maize and ginger instead of poppy plantations in the area. He further assured of providing a means to market the ginger at the earliest.    

He added that during an inspection with the village leaders, the official team had found that preparation for long-term plantation of fruit-bearing trees like apple and kiwi had been made by the villagers. 

The district officer also said that the department will launch a scheme in the village with a cost of Rs 50 lakh and further sought support and cooperation from the village for the successful implementation of the scheme. 

He further assured of all other assistance, including the provision of seasonal seeds and fruit saplings, to the villagers.

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