Rampant deforestation and clearing of hill ranges to make space for poppy cultivation is resulting in acute water scarcity, CAF and PD minister L Susindro said on Saturday.
The minister was speaking to the media at Imphal Airport after conducting an aerial survey of poppy plantations and deforestation in the interior jungles of the state.
Pointing out that most of the rivers which run in Imphal valley originating from Kangpokpi district have dried up, the minister cautioned that the present stock of water in Imphal West would last for not more than 20 days.
The minister said the government will be setting up pumping stations in different locations of Imphal West within the next two-three days.
Pointing out that the water level of Loktak Lake and Kangchup has also receded considerably, he said the only hope left is the Chingkhei Ching Water Supply whose pipe-laying is on the pipeline. It will be able to supply sufficient water at least to the pumping stations, he added.
Expressing shock in witnessing vast poppy plantations at the border areas of Thangjing Range in Churachandpur district, Chakpikarong in Chandel district and in many hill ranges of Saikul in Kangpokpi district during the survey, he said necessary steps will be taken to foil the poppy plantations.
“The state government will write to the ministry of Food and Civil Supply to invalidate ration cards of all the villages that support and permit poppy cultivation,” he said.
All possible equipment such as drones, chemicals and others will be deployed and stringent actions be taken up against the poppy cultivating villages as they pay no heed despite repeated appeals made by the chief minister, the minister added.