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Despite Ban, opium crop continue to flourish in Kishtwar, Doda Districts
Asif Iqbal Naik5/9/2019 4:19:59 PM

Jammu May 8: Despite government order ban on cultivation of opium crop which is the main source of drug heroine produced from the dried latex obtained from the opium poppy which contains approximately 12 percent of the analgesic Alkaloid morphine, which is processed chemically to produce heroin and other synthetic Opioids for medicinal use and for the illegal drug trade, but instead of implementing the ban on the cultivation of this crop, it is flourishing in villages situated in the outskirts of Kishtwar town and its peripheries under the close nose of agencies responsible for checking such activities.

As per the details available with “Early Times”, the open opium fields with full of flowers has been clearly seen in Bugrana village of Saroor in Kishtwar District, beside same is being witnessed in many areas in the outskirts of Kishtwar town, particularly in areas which are less than 4-5 KM distance from Kishtwar District headquarter. Even some local farmer are cultivating the crop within municipal limits and claimed that they are using Khaskash (Kashmiri name of opium) for salt tea purpose, which is an ancient old tradition as it gives white color to tea as well as added aroma to it.

“We are aware that opium could be used for production of heroine, but for that huge quantity is required—we cultivate it for personal use in the area of around 150-200 feet” said an Opium cultivator added that they have nothing to do with any drug business.

As per the practice which has been witnessed in Buttpura, Aripura, Serazi Mohallah’s of Bugrana village , the eyewitnesses told the Early Times that the traditional, labor-intensive method of obtaining the latex is being use to scratch (score) the immature seed pods (fruits) by hand; the latex leaks out and dries to a sticky yellowish residue that is later scraped off and dehydrated.

The Opium for illegal use is often converted into heroin, which is less bulky, making it easier to smuggle, and which multiplies its potency to anywhere from twice to four times that of morphine.

A senior official when contacted said that the cultivation of the crop is banned under law and there was no question that administration has accorded permission to anyone in the district and assured that same will be looked into and assure that the necessary directions to the concerned agencies including Excise Department will be issued to take immediate and necessary steps towards destruction of opium crop.

A senior police officer in Kishtwar told “Early Times” that the directions has already been passed to every police officer including SHO’s and Police Post in charge for mapping of grey areas including areas where cultivation of Opium crop and cannabis is presently going on added that they have been instructed to involve the local people of the area and destroyed both opium as well as cannabis crops with active help people and in presence of Mohallah committees. He said that police is also using the help of females who are voluntary coming forward for such things including for eradication of illicit liquor trade.

In addition to administration as well as police, excise department is also responsible for prevention of cultivation of Opium crop, but despite repeated attempt the concern officials could not be reach out for comment.

The locals also suspected the hand of concern officials in flourishing the trade and cultivation of banned opium in Kishtwar and Doda District.

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