Yangon,, 27 Oct - The second ceremony to destroy narcotic drugs, precursor chemicals and poppy seeds seized in Shan State (North), organized by the Central Committee for Drug Abuse Control, was held at the sports ground in Lashio, Shan State (North), at 4 pm on 25 October, attended by Chairman of the Work Committee for Development of Border Areas and National Races Secretary-1 of the State Peace and Development Council General Khin Nyunt.
Members of Lashio Township USDA Daw Than Than Htay and Daw Shwe Aye acted as masters of ceremonies. First, Commander Brig-Gen Myint Hlaing made a speech. In his speech, he said the first ceremony to destroy seized narcotic drugs and poppy seeds was held at the Lashio Sports Ground on 7 June 2002 and the present was the second time. It is known to all that Myannar had been under the colonial rule and due to divide-and-rule policy, the internal insurgency occurred after regaining the independence and due to the evil legacy of the colonialists, cultivation of poppy has existed.
The Government in cooperation with the entire national people has been making relentless and sustained efforts in preventing the scourge of narcotic drugs, the evil legacy but some countries which could not bear to see the national development and peace and tranquility are turning a blind eye to the authentic facts and have been manufacturing fabrications concerning narcotic drugs with the use of media to tarnish the image of Tatmadaw and the people in the eyes of international community. The entire national people, hand in hand with the Government, have been making resolute efforts in narcotic drug eradication. Due to relentless efforts of the national races and measures taken by the national race leaders out of goodwill for prevention of narcotic drug and reducing of poppy production, the farmers have handed over their poppy seeds and poppy bulbs, thus contributing to destruction of poppy seeds.
The Government is making efforts with added momentum for eradication of narcotic drug as well as cultivation of poppy-substitute crops, and considerable assistance was provided to the farmers who earned their living by growing poppy in the past. As a result, K 42.5 million has been spent on cultivation of poppy-substitute crops.
In accord with the guidance of the Head of State and under the supervision of the command and Shan State Peace and Development Council, efforts are being made with the help of the ministry concerned for distributing poppy-substitute crops to farmers and land reclamation has been carried out for cultivation of pigeon peas, tea, coffee, thus further contributing to boosting their income and enhancing their living standard. Similarly, in livestock breeding sector, efforts are being made for breeding of pigs, poultry and keeping bees up to commercial scale after setting up large farms and technology has been disseminated and quality strains distributed to national organizations and local farmers.
The narcotic drugs, poppy seeds, precursor chemicals and paraphernalia to be destroyed today are 2712.5 Pyi of poppy seeds, 35256 Pyi of dry opium bulbs, 4487 kilos of heroin, 383.18 kilos of raw opium, 3 kilos of morphine powder. 16.33 kilos of opium residue, two kilos of stimulant tablets, 8.7 kilos of stimulant tablet powder, 115 kilos of ephedrine, 3, 530.76 litres of chemical liquid, 7,089 items used in shredding poppy, 65 items used in consuming opium and other paraphernalia. The commander expressed his firm belief that measures could have to be taken in turing the Shan State (North) into the drug free region based on combined efforts of the State, the entire national people and the national race leaders enlisting the strength of the Tatmadaw in response to the goodwill of the Head of State.
Minister Col Thein Nyunt delivered an address. He said I believe that the occasion today is significant and will remain as a milestone in the history of Myanmar's efforts to combat narcotic drugs. The unscrupulous elements have made attempts to have a long existence of the internal insurgency and poppy cultivation, the two evil legacies of the colonialists. In addition, they have been encouraging external encroachments, that contributed to production of narcotic drugs. After the Tatmadaw Government took over the State power in 1988, the policy of national unity was laid down stressing priority in national solidarity, development of the border areas and the national races.
As a result of realizing the Government's objectives with sincere intentions, 17 armed groups have returned to the legal fold. This unprecedented success laid open for the first time in the post-independence period, opportunities and success to all round development programmes in the entire country and fulfillment of the basic needs of the inhabitants of the border regions. Since peace and stability was established, access to far-flung and remote places made possible to carry out prevention and suppression of opium production. As a result of the changing situation, it can be said that narcotic drugs will be eliminated gradually, if the regions will develop.
In accordance with the changing situation, the Head of State laid down the two strategies for narcotic drugs elimination in Myanmar, - to designate narcotic drug eradication and prevention as a national responsibility and to carry out this responsibility with added momentum; and - to gradually eliminate poppy cultivation by raising the standard of living of the national races in the border areas. The drug problems of Myanmar are not only dependent on and inter-related with stability, peace, development and solidarity among the national races but also combined with the regional development, education, health and social development, and development of the life of the inhabitants of the regions.
As the eradication of drugs has been carried out focusing on the development of fundamental needs and infrastructure development, the local inhabitants and ethnic groups realizing the sincere intentions of the Government have fully cooperated with the programmes. Mongla Special Region-4 in the Eastern Shan State, emerged as an opium free zone in April, 1997 and this stands testimony to this successful cooperation. Acknowledging the Government's sincere efforts, the leaders of the national race groups have joined hands with the government in constructing roads, bridges, canals, dams, hydro-power stations and communications stations as the fundamental items to develop the border region and the national races as well as development of opium-substitute crops cultivation, livestock breeding, education, health sectors and educative courses with a view to strengthening solidarity and unity among the ethnic brethren.
While educating the farmers to grow opium- substitute crops instead of poppy, substitute crops seeds that are appropriate to the areas and climate are distributed for cultivation on the other hand. On realizing the sincere intention of the Government, the opium farmers, on their own accord, have come up voluntarily to hand over poppy seeds and bulbs that have kept for the next season. To date, 61,323 pyis of poppy seeds and dried 78,505 pyis of poppy bulbs in Shan State (North), 8,908 pyis of poppy seeds in Shan State (South), 864.699 pyis of poppy seeds and nine pyis of dried poppy bulbs in Shan State (East), 23.44 pyis of poppy seeds in Kayah State, 2,013 pyis of poppy seeds in Mandalay Division, 53.875 pyis of poppy seeds in Kachin State, totalling 78,736.764 pyis of poppy seeds and 19,749.75 pyis of dried poppy bulbs have been voluntarily presented to the authorities. A total of 98,486.514 pyis of poppy seeds that would be changed from dried poppy bulbs were surrendered. In this way, such quantity of seeds that would be grown in over 98,486.514 acres of land and production of opium 43.34 tons have been prevented.
The local populace has been active not only in crop substitution and alternative development activities but also in law enforcement activities like collecting information, investigation and destruction. In Laukkai region, they have formed drug suppression teams on their own and from 1st to 15th of April 2002, a total of 52 paraphernalia was discovered and seized from the valleys and mountains. In addition, 41 kilos of heroin was seized in Wa region during the period between July and September 2002. It is the indication that the local residents had been fully cooperating with the Government. With regard to drugs control, Myanmar has been cooperating very closely with neighbouring countries as well as countries in the sub-regions and region.
As per bilateral cooperation, Myanmar and China under the cross-border cooperation project, liaison offices have been opened Lweje on the 31st October 2000 and in Chin Shwe Haw on the 11th March 2001 respectively. For improvement of Myanmar-China Narcotic Drugs Elimination Cooperation, NNCC of the People's Republic of China donated 11 tons of potato seeds, 600 kilos of Chinese-pea and 400 kilos of green pea for opium-substitute cultivation programme in Shan State Special Region-1, Kokang Region in Laukkai, on 15 October 2002 under the arrangements of Public Security Minister Jia Chunwang of the People's Republic of China and Chairman of CCDAC Minister for Home Affairs Col Tin Hlaing.
In addition, within 2001-2002, Myanmar handed over drug traffickers wanted in China for nine times. Documents were handed over once. In this regard, 13 drug culprits and two drug traffickers seized were handed over to China by Wa on their own arrangements. Such events have clearly proved that Myanmar is very serious and deeply taking part in combating drugs. International media has picked up such incidents. The above presentation in the efforts and success of drug control covers only some of the activities on drugs elimination and the standing of our country.
In conclusion, I would like to express here that this second Destruction Ceremony to destroy the poppy seeds, seized drugs, chemicals and paraphernalia seized in Lashio and Laukkai regions, Shan State (North), clearly indicates the result of the commitment and full cooperation of the local inhabitants. If the local inhabitants take part in and show enthusiasm in this sort of cooperation, I am fully confident the drug scourge threatening the whole mankind will not find a place on the soil of Myanmar.
Then, the Secretary-1 and party, guests and national race leaders viewed the drugs, poppy seeds and precursor chemicals to be destroyed in the sports ground.
Afterwards, the Secretary-1, Lt-Gen Aung Htwe, the commander, the minister, national race leaders, who returned to the legal fold, Mr Tomomitsu Iwakura and Professor Akio Ujihara took positions at the designated places and pressed the buttons to set fire to the drugs.
Those present also took part in destruction drugs. Then, the Secretary-1 and party and guests viewed the drugs being ablaze. The Secretary-1 and party and guests observed the documentary photos on activities of narcotic drug elimination in Shan State (North) and the ceremony came to an end.
The drugs destroyed at the ceremony were 2,712.5 pyis of poppy seeds, 35,256 pyis of dried poppy bulbs (18,822.77 kilos), 44.87 kilos of heroin, 383.18 kilos of raw opium, three kilos of morphine, two kilos of stimulant tablets, 8.70 kilos of stimulant power, 115 kilos of Ephedrine, 16.33 kilos of opium residue, 120 kilos of acetic anhydride, 883.85 litres of ethyl ether, 727.36 litres of ethyl, four litres of hydrochloric acid, 90.80 litres of phenyl, 1,704 litres of sulphuric acid, 60 kilos of sodium carbonate and 13 kinds of related materials. Altogether 18,823 kilos of poppy seeds destroyed today can be put 11,526 acres of land under poppy cultivation and if refined, five tons of heroin with the face value of US$ 1,070 million can be obtained.