Wonder if this is an correlation , but it does not augur well for tiny Mizoram.
Since prohibition was reimposed in Mizoram in 2019, the seizure of Burmese-origin narcotics in the tiny state bordering Myanmar has been rising every year.
The ‘Golden Triangle’ on Myanmar’s border region with China, Laos and Thailand is one of the two largest producers of narcotics, the other being the ‘Golden Crescent’ on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.
Some suspect the rise in Myanmar’s drug seizures points to growing inflow and a possible rise in local consumption.
Mizoram’s Excise and Narcotics department official Peter Zohmingthanga told media persons this week that 15.420 kilograms of heroin were seized in the state from January to October 2021. 39.72 kilogram of heroin was seized during three years from January 2019 to October 2021 .12.59 kilogram of heroin was seized in 2019 and 11.71 in 2020, Zohmingthanga said.The lack of stability in neighbouring Myanmar after the Feb 2021 military coup and widespread civil unrest in ihe country marked by rise in popular armed resistance in border regions ( like Chin state and Sagaing Region bordering India’s Northeast) may have spurred drug trafficking. Frontier states like Mizoram and Manipur are obviously bearing the brunt of rising drug trafficking from Myanmar, where the military rulers are often in cahoots with large smuggling cartels.Mizoram’s overall drug seizure statistics , pointing to active anti drug operations but also to possible higher inflow and local consumption, is clearly worrying for a tiny state with a population of 10.91 lakhs ( 2011 Census). 210.87 kgs of methamphetamine tables and 612 kilogram of ganja (cannabis) were seized in Mizoram during three years (2019 – October 2021) besides Pseudoephedrine tablets (9 kg), Alprazolam tablets (12.62 kg) and Dextroproproxyphene tablets (25 kg), Zohminthanga said. Mizoram has been a dry state for long spells .Partial prohibition was in place even as the state government allowed opening of wine shops in 1984 under the provisions of the Mizoram Excise Act, 1973 . But the wine shops and bars were closed from 1987 and partial prohibition continued.
Eight years later, the Mizoram Liquor Total Prohibition Act, 1995 was legislated and enforced from February 20, 1997 till January 15, 2015, the day, the new law – Mizoram Liquor (Prohibition and Control Act, 2014) was notified.
After the new Mizo National Front (MNF) government came to power after the election to the state Assembly held on November 28 last year, the government changed its policy and moved towards imposition of dry law again.
The Mizoram Liquor Prohibition Bill, 2019 was passed by the state Assembly on March 20, 2019, four years after it was withdrawn. With the powerful churches and community-based organizations favouring stringent prohibition law, Mizoram has been virtually dry for decades, despite the black-market availability of liquor smuggled in from neighboring Assam.Political parties in the state are aware of the political clout wielded by the powerful Church and have acceded to its anti-prohibition postures. But despite stepping up operations against drug trafficking , evident is rising seizures, the flow of narcotics from Myanmar seems to be on the rise.493 people were arrested between January to October this year, 574 in 2020 ans 1,053 in 2019, Zohminthanga said. At least 2,120 people were arrested and 1,572 cases registered in connection with drugs during the same period, he said.
According to the official, a total of 1,688 people has died due to drug abuse since 1984 to 15 November 2021.
Of 1,688 people, 340 died of sustained heroin consumprion, 1, 161 died due to Dextroproproxyphene and 187 died due to other drugs, he said.
Zohminthanga said that the number of current users of opiads (opium substances) is extremely high among drug users, which tagged at 25.67 per cent against the national average of 2 per cent.
The number of people using injected drugs in the state now is estimated to be about 28,288 against the national’s data of 8,54,296, he said.
Zohmingthanga added that about 90 per cent of the accused (arrested people) were convicted on drug trafficking charges. But due to easy availability from Myanmar and possible lack of availability of liquor, those looking for a fix are turning to heroin or other drugs.
Intro : Seizures of narcotics have been increasing in Mizoram but fears are mounting that it also points to greater inflow from Myanmar and possible rise in local consumption.
Mizoram officials say they have seized 15 kilograms of Burmese heroin between Jan-Oct 2021 , up from 12.5 kgs in 2019 and 11.7 kgs in 2020.
The unsettled conditions in neighbouring Myanmar may be helping drug traffickers as the law and order machinery is focussed on tackling civil unrest mounting since the Feb 2021 military takeover.