Morphine-based policy may reduce number of opium licences in Rajasthan, growers upset
The Central Bureau of Narcotics (CBN) issues licences to growers according to the centre’s policy and later collect the produce from the farmers.jaipur Updated: Oct 27, 2017 20:49 IST
The new morphine-based opium policy, recently announced by the government, for issuing licences to cultivators is worrying opium growers in the state, who fear that the number of licences issued, will go down with the new policy in place.
The Central Bureau of Narcotics (CBN) issues licences to growers according to the centre’s policy and later collect the produce from the farmers.
Till last year, the criterion for issuing a licence was based on the minimum qualifying yield (MQY) of opium. It means that farmers had to tender the desired MQY of opium to the bureau to become eligible for seeking the licence again. The new policy for 2017-18 has changed the norm of providing MQY of opium to MQY morphine — which is the main content of opium and a narcotic drug.
Growers had to deliver an MQY of 49 kg of opium per hectare till May 2017, to be eligible for seeking licences in October this year. The new policy states that farmers who cultivated the crop in 2016-17 and tendered an average yield of not less than 5.9 kg of morphine content per hectare in April this year will be eligible to get an opium licence in 2017-18.
Also, farmers will only be allowed to cultivate opium in maximum 10 ares of land whereas last year they were allowed to cultivate in 20 ares.
“Licences of a large number of growers in the state may be cancelled as many farmers will not be able to meet the desired MQY of morphine according to the new policy,” said convener of the Afeem Utpadak Kisan Sangarsh Samiti, Bhawani Shankar ‘Dhartipakad’.
He added that the morphine content is less in opium grown in the Hadauti region and other parts of the state due to the soil quality, so opium procured by the CBN earlier this year (2016-17) might lack desired MQY of morphine.
“The central government should change morphine as the basis of issuing opium cultivation licences and reinstate the previous condition or else farmers will suffer,” he said.
Growers have also registered their objection before urban development and housing minister Shrichand Kriplani, who also hails from opium growing area of Chittorgarh.
Opium is cultivated in Kota, Baran, Jhalawar, Pratapgarh, Chittorgarh, Udaipur and Bhilwara districts of Rajasthan. Apart from Rajasthan, opium is cultivated in Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.
President of Afeem Utpadak Sangharsh Samiti of MP, Rajasthan aur UP, Ramkumar Yogi said that the new policy will hurt growers. “Morphine yield differs from area to area as soil fertility and dew affects the morphine content, so growers will not be able to provide desired morphine, which will mean that the number of licences issued will go down,” he said.
Deputy narcotics commissioner, CBN, Rajasthan Sahi Ram Meena also accepted that the new norm is likely to reduce the number of licences issued in the state and country to a certain extent this year.
Meena also added that the criterion for changing the opium policy could be because of the demand for morphine, which is imported to different countries and the government’s aim to discourage adulteration of opium.