IMPHAL: Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh handed over a cash reward of ₹10 lakh to Peh(Paoyi) village of Ukhrul district at a gathering held at the Secretariat in Imphal on Monday.
Local MLA Khasim Vashum, Chief Secretary Dr Rajesh Kumar and DGP LM Khaute were also present at the function.
The cash reward was given to the Peh (Paoyi) village authority for voluntarily taking part in the Manipur government's 'war on drugs' campaign and destroying poppy plants grown in their village.
Chief Minister N Biren took to Twitter to announce the news. He wrote, "Handed over reward of Rs.10 lakhs to Peh(Paoyi) village authority of Ukhrul District, in appreciation of destroying poppy plantations under their jurisdiction, supporting our Govt's #WarOnDrugs, at a warm gathering held at my official residence today."
The Chief Minister praised the villagers for their determination in destroying the poppy plantation, and added that the state government has been doing their best to curb drug abuse and trafficking in Manipur.
Peh is situated roughly 30 kms north of the Ukhrul district headquarters and is home to about 600 families. The primary occupation of the village is the cultivation of paddy, along with bananas, chillies and seasonal vegetables.
Chief Minister Biren formally announced the reward for Peh (Paoyi) village at a media conference at his office complex on Saturday.
His announcement came after Peh village authorities sent a video of the destruction of the poppy cultivation with a message to the Chief Minister saying that the village will take part in the state government's 'war on drugs' campaign and support the Chief Minister in fighting the drug menace in the state.
He had also informed that the government sent a team of officials from the horticulture, agriculture and fisheries departments to Peh (Paoyi) on Sunday to study the local terrain and figure out which varieties of crops could be cultivated in place of the poppy.
The poppy plantation is reportedly one of the major reasons for widespread deforestation in these parts of the state. According to the latest India State of Forest Report (ISFR), Manipur lost 499 sq. km of forest cover between 2016 and 2018. Of the total area lost, 491 sq. km fall in the hill districts, namely Churachandrapur, Tamenglong, Senapati, Chandel and Ukhrul. The maximum loss of forest cover, about 250 sq. km, was in Churachandrapur. This district, along with Tamenglong, is also prone to forest fires.