Addressing a conference, Manipur Governor Najma Heptulla stated Monday that India should establish inter-governmental and institutional collaboration with neighbouring eastern countries to counter the drug menace in the country.
Underlining that Northeast India touches the Golden Triangle, one of the most notorious drug trade regions in the world, Heptulla stressed the need for a concerted action to reduce the cultivation and production of drugs as well as their demand and dependence as there is high prevalence of drug abuse in several areas in Northeast, which is over and above the national average.
The Governor was addressing an audience during the inauguration of International Conference Cum Workshop on Comprehensive Approach to Combating Illicit Trafficking of Afghan Opiates & Drug Situation in North East at Hotel Classic Grande, Imphal.
The two-day long conference was organised by the Government of Manipur and United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Regional Office, South Asia (UNODC-ROSA).
Manipur Governor further suggested for the need of a more intensive study about the cultivation and consumption of drugs in each of the eight states, including Sikkim to devise a response to the problem effectively.
Heptulla suggested UNODC takes initiative to establish a South Asia Regional Intelligence Sharing mechanism, in addition to integrated border management mechanisms to counter illicit trafficking.
Manipur Chief Secretary. Dr. J Suresh Babu, revealed that Manipur ranks best when it comes to the infant mortality rate but is one of the worst in drug abuse, trafficking and HIV/AIDS cases. The state is facing an alarming situation as most of the drug users are found among the high school students, he said.
He claimed that the Government of Manipur, for the last two years, has been extensively organising drug control programmes such as destroying of poppy cultivations in almost all the hill districts.
The conference was attended by Sergey Kapinos, Regional Representative of UNODC South Asia; LM Khaute, IPS, Director General of Police, Govt. of Manipur; B. Radhika, Deputy Director-General of NCB and Dr Atul Ambekar, Professor, NDDTC, AIIMS.
Delegates from Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, Sri Lanka, top Police Officials, and related government officials were also present at the inaugural function of the two-day conference cum workshop.