Irrigation and Flood Control Department, and Youth Affairs and Sports Minister Letpao Haokip stated that the government is putting in efforts to provide viable alternate livelihood source to people involved in poppy cultivation in a bid to wean them away from poppy cultivation.

Letpao said towards this end, the State Government has agreed in principle to replace poppy with lemongrass cultivation and motivated people involved in poppy cultivation to switch over to lemongrass cultivation for sustainable livelihood.

Letpao was at a gathering of villagers, church and village leaders and chiefs at Aihang village, Chandel district yesterday during a felicitation programme held in his honour.

Considering the adverse environmental impact caused by poppy cultivation – clearance of large forest areas which led to soil erosion, the government is determined to provide alternative livelihood to poppy cultivators.

He extended invitation to the chiefs and leaders of the area to attend an awareness and sensitisation programme in this regard to be held shortly in Imphal.

He said a mini-stadium would be constructed at Aihang village soon at a cost of Rs 50 crore under NLCPR. The minister, prior to the programme, inspected the site for the mini-stadium.

Letpao also announced slews of development schemes to be implemented in the area, particularly for the welfare of widows and women.

Urging the people to be sincere in all their endeavours, the minister exhorted all concerned to extend maximum cooperation to the development initiatives of the Government.

Village chiefs, Church and social leaders from different villages of Chandel district attended the function.

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