Thursday, 11 June 2020 - Imphal Times

IT News

Imphal, June 11:

At what could be term as looting of public money, monetary assistance provided under Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN) seems to be enjoyed by Ghost beneficiaries in Khoijuman Khullen, Khoijuman Khunou and Nachou villages of Bishnupur block in Bishnupur district.

PM-KISAN was launched by the government of India to augment the income of the Small and Marginal Farmers (SMFs). The Scheme aims to supplement the financial needs of the SMFs in procuring various input to ensure proper crop health and appropriate yields, Commensurate with the anticipated farm income at the end of the each crop cycle.

The list of the beneficiaries under the scheme is being uploaded at the official website As per the lists uploaded for Khoijuman Khullen Village, a total of 221 farmers are being benefitted by the scheme. However, around half the number of beneficiaries are Muslim names who does not exist in the village. Similar is the case for Khoijuman Khunou and Nachou Villages. Half the names of the villagers are Muslim names that do not exist in the Villages.

Pradhan of Khoijuman Kwaksiphai Gram Panchayat, Thoudam Ongbi Ahanbi Devi, while being contacted by Imphal Times said that they have no Muslim family in the villages stated above and that the name in the list are not existed in the villages. When enquired on whether she had any knowledge of the PM-KISAN scheme, she said that some names had been submitted for getting financial support under the schemed but she had no idea of how names of person that do not live in the village nor had cultivable land in the village included in the list. When asked if any of the name submitted by her had received any monetary assistant under the PM-KISAN scheme, Ahanbi Devi said that some of the name she had submitted had received Rs. 2000/- each as assistance.

The financial assistance provided to small and marginal farmers under PM-KISAN scheme are going to many persons who do not live in the three villages in Bishnupur district. Whether the names in the lists which the Pradhan have no knowledge of existing in the three villages actually existed or are ghost created by district administration authority is a matter that needs to be pondered on. 

Published in News

IT News

Imphal, June 11:

A person who identified himself as one Nilakanta Singh from Naoremthong Khullem Leikai in Imphal west had reportedly threatened Advocate Chongtham Victor and his associate Amom Malemsana of dire consequences for exposing corruption in the Customs Division office, Chingmeirong recently.

Talking to Imphal Times at around 11 pm yesterday Victor said that he and his associate Malemsana have been receiving threat calls from unknown mobile number for exposing corruption at the Customs Division office Chingmeirong. The threat call fortunately was recorded and forwarded to Imphal Times.

In the call it is heard that the person who identified himself as Nilakanta Singh threatening Victor and Malemsana asking their intention of exposing what had happen on June 3, 2020 at the office of the Customs Division office. To Malemsana the person even threatened to face dead. Victor also uploaded the whole conversation at his Facebook page on his ID Victor Khaba.
Imphal Times had exposed about this news on June 4, "Custom officer asks Rs. 1 lakh for ‘Chai Paani’ for refund of deposited money"

Below is the post on his Facebook  

Further investigation showed that the person Nilakanta Singh who threatened Victor and Malemsana may be an inspector of the Customs Division office, Chingmeirong.

Victor had earlier exposed a custom officer asking a sum of rupees 1(one) lakh for ‘Chai Paani’ (for tea, water) to his associate Advocate Malemsana when he visited the office of the Asst/Deputy Commissioner Customs Division, Chingmeirong in connection with a case for the release of deposited money for the seizure of a vehicle.

In a video shared to Imphal Times, an official of the Customs Division office was heard asking money saying that – gari thadokpagisidi khorsha paisa khara adum tounabani (everyone pays money for chai pani for release of vehicle).


Published in News

IT News

Imphal, June 11:

The troops of Assam Rifles under the aegis of IGAR South along with Manipur Police in joint operation seized 950 cases of IMFL amounting in lakhs from a truck plying on NH-37 near Khongsang, Noney on 09 Jun 2020. The operation was part of ongoing Anti Extortion Operation undertaken by Assam Rifles to curb the illegal influx of contraband items in the state.

Based on specific input, a checkpost was established which noticed the truck(Regn No NL 01N 9178) near Khongsang around 0930h. The truck was supposedly carrying edible oil from Silchar to Imphal. However, detailed checking of the vehicle revealed well concealed 950 cartons of IMFL stacked below. Excise department officials were intimated who arrived at the site of seizure & post complete checking handed over the seized contraband to Khongsang PS for insitu destruction.

The apprehended individuals have been identified as Abdul Matalib age 49 yrs, s/o Jan Muhammad and Md Nasir Khan, age 43 yrs, s/o MD Leibi resident of Golapati Maning Leikai Porompat Sub Div, Imphal East (Manipur).

Meanwhile, as part of measures to reduce the smuggling of contraband items across the porous Indo - Myanmar Border, the troops of Tengnoupal Battalion under the aegis of IGAR South, in operations against the smugglers have recovered contraband items at Khudengthabi one after the other in a span of few hours.

At around 0230hrs, based on specific input,  the team of Khudengthabi caught an individual named Jankhai Haokip, S/o Late Jilkham Haokip, resident of Zion, ward no 7, Moreh, near pineapple garden, Khudengthabi village. On thorough inspection suspected Brown Sugar in soap cases weighing .415 grams were found. The individual was ferrying these items from Moreh to Imphal. The total cost of the recovered items is in lakhs.

In another incidence at 0900hrs the troops of Tengnoupal Battalion checked a vehicle Hyundai Creta registration number GUFJW86915(White Colour)driven by James Vaiphei,Age-22 yrs S/O Lenmang Vaiphei R/O Khonomphai, Tengnoupal district, Manipur along with three passengers at PVCP  Khudengthabi. The co driver  in  the van was Paominlam Haokip,Age-34 yrs S/O Thangmang Haokip, R/O Ngahmunnon, district Churachandpur, Manipur  The other two passengers in the vehicle were Seiminlun Baite  Age 17 yrs , s/o HalpaoBaite , R/o Maojang, Moreh, Tengnoupal and Nengkhotin Haokip w/o Mangmin Haokip, Age 24 yrs, R/O Sangaikot Block, Songpeh, Churachandpur. On thorough inspection suspected Brown sugar weighing 3.368kgs worth crores was recovered.

In total , the troops of AR  have recovered Brown Sugar weighing 3.78 KG in international market, in pursuit of a drug free Manipur.

The detained individuals and the recovered items along with the vehicle have been handed over to PS Moreh for further investigation.

Published in News
Thursday, 11 June 2020 17:10

Auto driver Laibi honoured by CM

IT News

Imphal, June 11:

Chief Minister N. Biren Singh handed over a cash amount of Rs 1,10,000/- to Laibi Oinam, a street vendor cum auto driver who volunteered to drop a recovered COVID-19 patient from JNIMS, Imphal East to Kamjong district covering 8 hours of journey on the intervening night of 31st May and 1st  June 2020.

 The cash reward was sponsored by some entrepreneurs from Manipur along with Manipuri Diasporas from US, UK, Canada and Singapore as an encouragement to her for her humane and heroic act and service.

Mentioned may be made that Laibi Oinam, a resident of Pangei Bazaar, Imphal East, is a mother of two sons and is the sole breadwinner of the family. A documentary film based on her life entitled “AUTO DRIVER” won many accolades including best social issue film in the non-feature category at the 63rd National Film Awards in 2015 and Best Short Documentary in the Audience Choice category at the 2017 Women’s Voices Now Film Festival. Apart from this, a number of articles have been published about her in many national and local newspapers and journals for breaking the gender stereotypes and glass ceiling.

Chairman LDA L. Susindro, Chairman of Manipur Building and Other Construction Workers’ Welfare Board H. Dingo, MLA of Yaiskhul A/C Th. Satyabrata, filmmaker Meena Longjam who directed the documentary film “AUTO DRIVER” and sponsors of the cash incentive were present during the program.

Published in News

IT News
Imphal, June 11:

Manipur  Students’ Association Delhi President Shaikhom Chingkheinganba in a press release stated that Leishemba Sanajaoba is free to practice his politics in the Indian electoral system. But he cannot do it as the Titular King of Manipur. His kingship represents cultural symbolism and the existence of Manipur’s national identity. King as the cultural symbolism includes the significance of the institution as serving the bond of mutual relationship between the Hill and Valley. Primary critique is not against Sanajaoba but his attempt to delegitimize our erstwhile political sovereignty. The status of the king became the Head of the State (titular king) with the establishment of a democratic republic under the Manipur Constitution Act, 1947. In his capacity as the Constitutional Head, treaties with other sovereign nation were concluded in his name for instance - the Merger Agreement. 1947. Other matters of external affairs relating to war & peace were done in the name of King. I:ven as the constitutional head, the office of the King represented the sovereign independent existence and national identity of Manipur. This is the political significance of the institution of kingship. The cultural sovereignty which he holds today was a necessary embodiment of the erstwhile political sovereignty. Cultural symbol extends beyond the political where we must pay attention. The fate of the hills and valley are joined here. The king can be installed with someone from the hills after Sanajaoba left it said.
It added that when Manipur was forcefully merged to the Indian Slate in 1949, the political authority of the king was lost. Present Titular King represents the Manipur nation with no political authority. It provides historical proof to the people’s movement that we were a sovereign nation with complex political life. The institution or kingship is inherently intertwined with the aspirations of the people of Manipur and their struggles for a democratic way of life. The concept of monarchy is not acceptable. Space of the monarch is not the mere form of king and its subjects. It represents I living symbol of an erstwhile Independent Manipur, It reminds lo all of us that Manipur was a sovereign nation which had lis own constitution, and parliamentary form of government. For million people, their loyalty is not lo the palace but to the complex political life challenging the Indian colonising forces it added.

Published in News

Our Correspondent

Mumbai, June 11:

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Wednesday brought back 108 consignments belonging to Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi including polished diamonds, silver jewellery and pearls worth Rs 1,350 crore of declared value from Hong Kong.

“ED brought back 108 consignments containing polished diamonds, pearls, pearl and silver jewelry etc worth Rs. 1350 Crores (approx) of various overseas entities of Nirav Modi & Mehul Choksi which were kept in the godown of a logistics company in Hong Kong”, ED tweeted. Out of 108 consignments, 32 consignments belong to the entities controlled by Nirav Modi, while rest belong to entities controlled by Mehul Choksi.

The jewellery belongs to Modi and Choksi wanted in connection with Rs 13,000 crore Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud case. Nirav Modi is in London jail, while his uncle Mehul Choksi is hiding in Antigua. Extradition proceedings against both accused have been initiated by the Indian investigative agencies. Last year in a media interview Antigua & Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne had said “Mehul Choksi is a crook, Indian authorities are free to come and interrogate him.

The jewellery was kept in the godown of a logistics company in Hong Kong. The consignments were brought back to Mumbai on Wednesday and the weigh around 2,340 Kg.

“These consignments had been sent to Hong Kong from Dubai in early 2018 and the officers of the Enforcement Directorate had received intelligence input about these valuables in July 2018. The officers were continuously engaged in discussion with various authorities in Hong Kong to bring these valuables back to India,” said the agency. After finalising various modalities and legal formalities, these consignments were dispatched from Hong Kong which reached India.

Earlier, ED had successfully brought back 33 consignments of valuables from Dubai and Hong Kong in cases against Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi. These valuables were valued on arrival and were subsequently seized in India. Independent valuers assessed the earlier consignments to be worth around Rs 137 crore.

Published in News
Thursday, 11 June 2020 17:07

Winning COVID-19

As the coronavirus pandemic rapidly sweeps across the world, it is inducing a considerable degree of fear, worry and concern in the population at large and among certain groups in particular, such as older adults, care providers and people with underlying health conditions. In public mental health terms, the main psychological impact to date is elevated rates of stress or anxiety. But as new measures and impacts are introduced – especially quarantine and its effects on many people’s usual activities, routines or livelihoods – levels of loneliness, depression, harmful alcohol and drug use, and self-harm or suicidal behaviour are also expected to rise.
In populations already heavily affected, issues of service access and continuity for people with developing or existing mental health conditions are also now a major concern, along with the mental health and well-being of frontline workers. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, it appears likely that there will be substantial increases in anxiety and depression, substance use and abuse, loneliness, and domestic violence; and with schools closed, there is a very real possibility of an epidemic of child abuse. However, according to experts, a few steps, taken now, can help us proactively prepare for the inevitable increase in mental health conditions and associated sequelae (a pathological condition resulting from a prior disease, injury, or attack) that are the consequences of this pandemic. First, it is necessary to plan for the inevitability of loneliness and its sequelae as populations physically and socially isolate and to develop ways to intervene. The use of digital technologies can bridge social distance, even while physical distancing measures are in place. Normal structures where people congregate, whether places of worship, or gyms, and yoga studios, can conduct online activities on a schedule similar to what was in place prior to social distancing. Particularly relevant here is the developing and implementing routines, particularly for children who are out of school, ensuring that they have access to regular programmed work. Online substitutes for daily routines, as mentioned above, can be extremely helpful, but not all children have access to technologies that enable remote connectivity. Needed are approaches for ensuring structure, continuity of learning, and socialization to mitigate the effect of short- and long-term sheltering in place.
Second, it is critical that we have in place mechanisms for surveillance, reporting, and intervention, particularly, when it comes to domestic violence and child abuse. Individuals at risk for abuse may have limited opportunities to report or seek help when shelter-in-place requirements demand prolonged cohabitation at home and limit travel outside of the home. Systems will need to balance the need for social distancing with the availability of safe places to be for people who are at risk, and social services systems will need to be creative in their approaches to following up on reports of problems.
Third, it is time to bolster our mental health system in preparation for the inevitable challenges precipitated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Stepped care, the practice of delivering the most effective, least resource-heavy treatment to patients in need, and then stepping up to more resource-heavy treatment based on patients’ needs, is a useful approach. This will require that systems are both well designed and well prepared to deliver this care to patients, from screening to the overflow of mental illness that will inevitably emerge from this pandemic.
Even small signs that someone cares could make a difference in the early stages of social isolation. And health systems, both public and private sector, will need to develop mechanisms for refill and delivery of essential medicines, including psychiatric medicines. A concerted effort will be vital in establishing a new and better system which can adapt and scale up as and when required. Understanding, cooperation and empathy can win this battle.

Published in Editorial

Dr. Malem Ningthouja

For the last few years, the phrase “war against drug” has been a populist parlance, a media hype created by the incumbent Chief Minister of Manipur [CM] and his media supporters. Perhaps, “war against drug” is not bent on any new qualitative law, but operates within the legal labyrinth of the pre-existing Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act 1985 [NDPS]. This Act is a restraint mechanism to regulate the production, supply, and consumption of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances [drugs]. If the CM is serious enough to take an extra concern on and invest in relentless efforts in dealing with the grievous situations caused by drugs, he deserves thanking, appreciation, and award. Opposition parties should contribute to it, instead of rumor-mongering and passive watching. But if it turns out to be for a different agenda, “war against drug” will be a black spot in history. I wish our CM is serious and committed.
But some questions call for retrospections and introspections. I hope our CM is tolerant enough to go through my constructive criticism, not about him in particular but about the context that Manipur has been going through a grim picture for several decades, much before he appears in the political scene after 2001. Before that, he was a ‘journalist’; I hope he would appreciate more than what I may write. The point is that the restraint mechanism that exists on paper (Indian statute) may not be fully functional due to various evading and dereliction factors unless some innovations are integrated with it as components of an integral project. Because the ‘functionality’ is usually determined by the degree of sincerity, commitment, courage, capacity, resource, strategy, tactics, and coordinated efforts of political decision-makers, executive forces, and judicial officials.
Consistent, cordial, and committed coordination is always the deciding factor in enforcing a law. In this, one-person showmanship of a giant figure and sectarianism of a clique or party can neither be long-lasting nor could it adequately address the grievous situation troubling us. The simple fact is that the legal NDPS is just a semblance of the superstructure to deal with specific proscribed crimes that are deeply rooted in a particular market economy. This had to be seriously considered to accurately determine the context of the grievances to come up with practical initiatives. Otherwise, media stunt, blindly eulogizing an Act, 56-inch chest-thumping, and populist propaganda by sycophants cannot bring merits. We need mature reasoning to fight a real grievance.
Scientifically analysed, drugs, as we know today, had its use-value, and it exists as a profitable commodity in the market of an overarching liberal political economy. It is an addictive commodity supplied for consumption. Good or bad; variants of this commodity is available in either white or black markets. The point is, supply creates demand, which in turn facilitates the growth of production and supply. The cycle of production, circulation, and consumption involves a well knitted network of commodity (capitalist) producers, labours, managers, distributors, consumers, and complex marketing setups. As what would Marx termed “commodity fetishism” prevails under the capitalist mode of production, many strive for profit instead of social welfares. Therefore, subjective inclinations towards extracting maximum surplus value and accumulating profits. It becomes what Gramsci would call “hegemonic” and culturally rooted. Consequently, it is quite evident that production and supply of the worst addictive commodities become choices and promoted, as it easily attracts consumers and earns profits. The disastrous course of business cycle and consumption becomes self-propelling evading norms of restraint mechanisms.
It is in this context that the role of the State becomes crucial and debated. In principle, an ideal State is expected to regulate the market; that is, to keep a balance of production, supply, and consumption to stabilise overproduction and scarcity and fulfil the social necessities of healthy survival and comforts of living. An ideal State, different from an autocratic or fascist regime, is expected to enforce laws for the safety and welfare of the people. It must impose a ban on the production of commodities that carry more weight on hazardous and disastrous impacts. It must impose restrictive regulations on the commodities that could be easily abused for the worst effects.
Unfortunately, under a crony capitalist liberal system where collusions of greedy market forces dominate politics, administration, and judiciary; popular expectations of an ideal State are always downplayed. Under such a situation, it is unthinkable that a particular law that would restrain the market interests of the powerful lobbies would be a hundred percent practical, though the general masses have no other option than relying on such a law.
Contemporary India’s political economy is inclined towards a liberal political economy. It is a system and social relations founded on the economic base of private ownership of means of production, commodity production, and distribution for the accumulation of wealth. It is swiftly moving towards accomplishing a privatisation path. This path is parting ways from the ideals of social ownership of the means of production and distribution to serve social needs towards equity and progress. Here, it needs to be clearly pointed out that the State predominantly acts as a regulator or facilitator of privatisation. It does not directly engage in production and distribution to serve social needs. In stead, it functions as an instrument of powerful lobbies for whom it administers at the expense of the taxes from the commodity productions and sales of legalised commodities, which were paid by the consumers. The point is, the widespread production or distribution and abuse of addictive drugs are the consequential reflections of the existing political-economic path. Neighbouring country Myanmar follows almost the same political economy. To repeat, under this system, producers and distributors are motivated by profit interest, which is reinforced by the lapses in the enforcement of restraint mechanisms. Whether the lapses are accidental or deliberate can be debated.
It is in this context that Manipur becomes a market and transit of drugs, largely encouraged by geographical factors, economic desperateness, administrative lapses, and lack of a collective progressive vision. The drugs from Myanmar smuggled to other states of India via Manipur are: Amphetamine, Brown Sugar, Crystal Methamphetamine (‘ice’, ice drug), Heroin powder,
Methaqualone, and World is Yours (Methamphetamine). The drugs from other states of India smuggled to Myanmar via Manipur are: Codeine, Ephedrine, Nitrosun-10 tablets, Pseudoephedrine, Spasmo-proxyvon capsules, etc. Transportation of drugs takes place either on land or air route. Intelligence reports identify the following seven routes of drugs: (1) Tamu (Myanmar) – Moreh – Imphal route. From Imphal to Kohima/Dimapur or Jiribam/Silchar (Assam); (2) Molnoi/Tahan(Myanmar) – Kamjong – Imphal route; (3) Hinekyan/Chikha (Myanmar) – Behiang (Manipur) – Churchandpur – Imphal route; (4) Somrah (Myanmar) – Tusom
(Manipur) - Kharasom- Jessami – Kohima (Nagaland) route; (5) Bokan (Myanmar) – Molcham – Sugnu – Imphal route: From Imphal to Jiribam – Silchar or Kohima- Dimapur; (6) Khampat (Myanmar)– New Somtal-Sugnu–Churachandpur – Imphal route: From Imphal to Jiribam – Silchar or Kohima – Dimapur, and (7) Air and postal routes. Today, Manipur is a hub of drugs. According to the police report, major sensitive districts are: Heroin (Thoubal); Morphine (Bishnupur, Churachandpur, Kangpokpi, Senapati, and Thoubal); Opium (Bishnupur, Chandel, Churachandpur, Kamjong, Kangpokpi, Senapati, Tengnoupal,
Thoubal, and Ukhrul); Cannabis (Senapati, Thoubal, and Ukhrul). The record does not mention pharmaceutical drugs that are widely available either in the black market or in pharmacies. At the same time, local production of cannabis or ganja and poppy cannot be ignored. Police in 2019 identified several poppy plantation areas: fifteen in Kangpokpi, four in Ukhrul, ten in Churachandpur, twelve in Tengnoupal, ten in Senapati, six in Kamjong, and seven in Chandel; altogether 64 plantation areas in Manipur. Likely, many areas inaccessible by police are not identified. The increase in poppy plantation and processing is because of its high value yielding but less capital and labour character. At the current price, on an average, one acre of poppy plantation produces about ten kilograms of raw opium. One kilogram of such raw opium can fetch an amount varying from Rs fifty thousand to Rs one lakh depending on quality and availability.
There is a new development in processing and marketing. Earlier semi-raw opium was compressed and exported to Myanmar and other Indian states. Nowadays, opium concentrating and processing are carried out in clandestine kitchen laboratories in plantation hills and some parts of Thoubal.
How could all these happen when the entire state is heavily militarised with well knitted strategic and tactical check posts located everywhere? Why poppy plantations flourish next to military camps in certain areas?
The symbiotic relationship between production, supply, and consumption of drugs is openly revealing. It is a flourishing economy for producers and suppliers. But I am not sure if the total monetary circulation involved in the drug business cycle is actually included in GDP calculation. Therefore, it is difficult to assess its percentage share in the overall economic growth. I am also not sure if a large chunk of the surplus-value and profit from drugs remain ‘black’ or are immediately converted into white through investment in other white businesses. But it is a common sense that many people are visibly prosperous without checking accountability by the vigilance service. And it is also a common sense that a huge chunk of ‘blacks’ are circulated to buy votes
during the election. For all these reasons, those blacks become whites at the receiving end by those who would, in turn, use it in the white markets. This trickle-down effect of payment and circulation, therefore, somehow contributed to the economy, particularly enhancing the prosperity of producers and suppliers.
But these are counter-productive productions and supplies. Drugs are killer poisons that ruin society. These drugs do not add to the value of the consumers rather than looting and destroying them. The vast chunk of the wage labours who are either employed or sharecropper in the drug production or plantation units remained always bonded to the kingpins due to economic
compulsions. The marginal labours or cultivators or peddlers could not improve their skill, technology, labour, and organisation to free themselves from the bondage. As a result, they have no easy opportunity to switch to a more qualitatively progressive and respectable economic production. Their labour-times are expended while keeping themselves biologically reproducing their bodies as labour by feeding on a small share. In contrast, the lion’s share is systematically alienated from them to fill the coffer of the parasitic kingpins. Though various layers of suppliers or marginal peddlers have earned money at different degrees, thereby allowing the their economic livelihood to sustain under a compulsive or bonded situation; it has irreparable disastrous impacts
on the society as a whole. First, it has taken a significant toll on lakhs of lives. Second, it has 3caused health breakdown and economic impoverishment of several lakhs. Third, drug-related social crimes are widespread, affecting lakhs of peoples. Fourth, it has severe ecological destructions as vast areas of forests in the border areas are destroyed for opium plantation. Fifth, an excessive amount of labour-time (human resources) and resources expended by police in enforcing restraint mechanisms are irreparable wastages. Sixth, it has popularised a culture of parasitism and lethargy, which is an obstacle to social progression and welfare.
It is well known that drugs are rooted in the market economy. The grievous condition caused by drugs is perpetuated by a section of the rulers and their agents who convert the society into a theatre of the struggle for power, black money, and personal glory. Some people believe in a revolution to establish a qualitatively vibrant society to defeat all these parasites. But it must not be forgotten that a vast chunk of the potentially useful but misguided population of various economic classes is involved in this illicit trade due to economic needs. It will be challenging to wipe out everybody at one go. To transform everything at one go will be an overestimation suffering from a mechanical and adventurous dilemma. An overnight revolution to change both the objective and subjective conditions cannot be expected any sooner. However, minimising the worst effects of drugs is an immediate need? For this, we, at present, have no alternative than relying on the existing restraint mechanisms. This is neither submission to misrule nor an apologetic concession. We are compelled by the pressing condition to focus on adding values to our activism through available means without desisting from the responsibility to unionise for a long term higher goal strategically. For the immediate concerns we must endeavour the following priorities; First, quarantine the addicts in sustainable rehabilitation centres in such an organised manner that it is not at the cost of their labour-time but actually promotes knowledge, skills, and wealth. But how? Who will do it? So far, the government has no concrete policies of detoxification and proper rehabilitation programmes? Most of the private rehabilitation centres are extractive but non-functional in the real sense. The government must play a role.
Second, promote social advocacy to discourage abuse of drugs. Volunteer organisations are doing it in a very casual, unsystematic, uncoordinated, and sporadic manner. Thanks to them that they did it using voluntarily derived meagre resources independent of government financial support. This has to be continued despite the fact that it had less impact when supply had catalytic impacts on the geometrical rise of consumers. The government must support them. Third, intensify mass movements against production and supply. But it is not easy. What will happen if mass movements attack soft targets and let scot-free the powerful? What security do these activists have? Will it be possible to find uncompromising and courageous full-time leaders and followers when drug kingpins are too powerful and influential, thereby risking the lives of activists? Who will provide backing? In Manipur’s context, in the 1980s and 90s, it was some rebel groups who were the backing. The situation is different now, as most of them had to flee Manipur due to counter-insurgency. This vacuum, the government must fill now.
Fourth, the existing laws, such as the NDPS Act should be implemented in true spirit. Is the government fully committed to do it? Over the decades, undisclosed kingpins are possibly living splendid livelihood pursuing illicit drug business. On some occasions, owners of vast consignments of drugs could not be identified for several years due to political and bureaucratic 4manoeuvring. Police who played a key role in the arrest of such consignment was suddenly transferred, or the entire Special Intelligence Unit was disbanded. There was an occasion when drugs under police custody were allegedly replaced with sawdust. There were occasions when police failed to submit a charge sheet against an accused in time. There can be many more examples. The CM who advocates “war on drug” must now produce a white paper to deal with it. Finally, I wish our CM is victorious in “war against drug.” At the same time, I would like to repeat again that fighting this epidemic cannot be one-man showmanship. CM needs to clear our doubts and suspicions. This fight must not be mixed up with any populist electoral agenda. This fight requires an adequate amount of time and labour to generate a systematic and conducive democratic communication towards developing a collective effort comprising individuals, popular democratic organisations, entrepreneurs, professionals, progressive NGOs and unions, legislators, executives, law practitioners and judicial officers, administrators, law enforcing personnel, cultural workers, and many more. Being the most ‘powerful man’ of Manipur, as the media would like to portray, I wish to see the incumbent regime brings a certain degree of qualitative change in dealing with drugs. For our present and a better tomorrow!
 (The writer is an Independent Researcher, Ph. D. in History from the University of Delhi and Former fellow at the Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla)

Published in Guest Column

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