A large number of farmers engaged in legal production of opium in Madhya Pradesh are in a quandary in absence of a clear policy from the state government about the purchase of the poppy husk, according to a farmer leader.
"The state government has not announced any clear policy about the purchase of poppy husk since the last two years. This has affected the farmers engaged in legitimate cultivation of opium in Mandsaur, Neemuch, Ratlam and some other areas," Rashtriya Kisan Mazdoor Mahasangh (RKMM) president Shiv Kumar Sharma told PTI today.
"After the purchase, the state government may destroy or use it," he said.
Owing to growing use of "doda chura" or poppy husk by drug addicts, the Central government on April 1, 2016 announced that destruction of poppy husk was the right option and banned its purchase and sale in the entire country.
"The chief minister had made an announcement that the state government would destroy poppy husk after purchasing it from farmers. But, the state government is yet to start the purchase of poppy husk," he claimed.
Sharma said opium producers are facing problems in the absence of a clear policy.
"They (farmers) are not destroying stored poppy husk in expectation that the government would purchase it from them. Simultaneously, these farmers are living in fear of being booked in criminal cases (due to illegal trade of opium in some areas)," he said.
Meanwhile, incidents of illegal trade of opium are on a rise in Mandsaur and adjoining areas.
When asked about growing incidents of poppy husk smuggling, Mandsaur superintendent of police Manoj Singh said, "We take quick action whenever we receive information about illegal sell and purchase as well as smuggling of poppy husk. We make arrests under NDPS (Narcotic Drug and Psychotropic Substances) Act in such instances,"
Discussions are going on at the state level about the destruction of the poppy husk, he said.
Mandsaur district is one of the major opium-producing areas in the country. During the farmers' agitation last year, six farmers were killed in Mandsaur in the police firing on June 6.
Morphine and Codeine, used in pain management, are derived from opium poppy and used in manufacture of drugs.
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