Biren plan for poppy farmers

Manipur chief minister N. Biren Singh on Thursday suggested cultivation of lemongrass and agar trees as an alternative to poppy plantation in the hills.

By Robert Sapam in Imphal
  • Published 20.04.18
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N. Biren Singh distributes geometry boxes to students in Imphal on Thursday. 
Picture by Robert Sapam

Imphal: Manipur chief minister N. Biren Singh on Thursday suggested cultivation of lemongrass and agar trees as an alternative to poppy plantation in the hills.

Biren Singh made the remarks while interacting with the village chief and students from Joupi in Chandel district, organised by the Commandant of 29 Assam Rifles, at the secretariat here.

The chief minister said as his government was waging a war on drugs, it is imperative that those who earlier cultivated poppy should get an alternative source of livelihood. He said they can take up cultivation of lemongrass and agar tree and rear mithun after consultation with experts.

Biren Singh expressed happiness that Joupi villagers had agreed to take up lemongrass cultivation in 300 acres of land, which was earlier a poppy field, at the initiative of the Assam Rifles. He also thanked Col Sachin Jain, commandant of 29 Assam Rifles, for his contribution.

Biren Singh said he had come across several women who had lost their husbands to drugs and other intoxicants and urged all people to support the war on drugs and encouraged them to work hard for the cause of the state and country.

On the poor road connectivity and water scarcity in Joupi, Biren Singh said the Border Areas Development Programme funds were not properly utilised. "We are not blaming anyone. But it is the right time to find out what went wrong for the betterment of border areas," he said.

He said 80 per cent of the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana funds are being utilised in the hill districts.

Biren Singh said after the launch of Go to Hills, another campaign called Go to Villages will kick off from May 1 to reach out to residents of far-flung villages.

The chief minister also distributed geometry sets to the students from Joupi schools.