A local BJP legislator has raised questions over burning of 4,237 quintals of poppy husk estimated to be worth Rs 100 crore in the last one week by the Mandsaur district excise department.
District excise officer Shadaab Siddiqui said poppy husk, which were stored in 26 warehouses of the district, were destroyed on the instructions of the Narcotics Control Bureau (Indore). The poppy husks were procured between 2014 and March 2016.
Procurement was stopped in Madhya Pradesh on March 31 and the government asked the districts to destroy husk to avoid any illegal trade. Following the instruction, the Mandsaur excise department seized the warehouses and destroyed the poppy husk in the last one week where as Neemuch department destroyed 500kg husk in April.
Local BJP legislator Yashpal Sisodia demanded a CBI probe into the process of destroying the poppy husk.
“Why was the Mandsaur excise department dilly–dallying in destroying the poppy husk? Secondly, why did they claim they were destroying so that it would not affect Punjab elections which is about a year later?” said Sisodia.
“I have written a letter to chief minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan and finance minister Jayant Malaiya demanded a CBI enquiry? I believe that no physical verification of the poppy husk was done by the department before destroying it,” he said.
District excise officer Shadaab Siddiqui denied the allegation. “The Narcotics Control Bureau said the stored poppy husk can be misused in Punjab election hence we have destroyed it,” said Siddiqui.
Neemuch, Mandsaur and Ratlam fall in the Malwa-Mewar belt that spans across western Madhya Pradesh and southern Rajasthan and has about 38,000 hectares of land for licensed opium cultivation.
About 30,000 cultivators in the state’s Mandsaur, Neemuch and Ratlam districts grow opium poppy.
Sources from the excise department said the husk was destroyed to avoid any loot, theft and illegal business through the stored poppy husk in districts on the behest of the excise department.