Illegal opium farming on Jaipur outskirts, 13 cases found in a year: Police
- Police said the drug smugglers have started targeting areas of various cities where opium can be cultivated and they pay farmers a high price for farming opium.
More than a dozen illegal opium farms discovered by the Jaipur Rural police in the last one year indicate that areas located on the periphery of the state capital have become hot spots of illegal cultivation of opium, also known as ‘black gold’.
The Jaipur Rural police, under its campaign ‘Highway’, seized 13 illegal opium farms between February 1, 2020 and March 4, 2021.
“The farms were found in Andhi, Chaksu, Shivdaspura, Pragpura, Jobner, Jamwaramgarh and Dudu. In all, 320,699 opium plants were seized and 11 cases were registered under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act 1985 and 11 people were arrested,” said Shankar Dutt Sharma, superintendent of police (SP), Jaipur rural. “Besides 103 kg lanced poppy husk was also recovered, which is a by-product of opium plant,” he added.
In India, opium cultivation is prohibited under Section 8 of the NDPS Act, 1985, except under a licence issued by the Central Bureau of Narcotics (CBN) under Rule 8 of the NDPS Rules, 1985. In Rajasthan, opium cultivation can be done only in Chittorgarh and Pratapgarh districts.
“The drug smugglers have understood the fact that in Pratapgarh, various agencies like CBN, police and NCB keep a strict watch on opium cultivators. Hence, they have started targeting areas of various other cities where opium can be cultivated, as it needs certain weather conditions for growth. Most of the farms where opium was grown on Jaipur outskirts were amid fields of paddy and mustard surrounded by hills,” Sharma said.
He said some big smugglers lure the farmers to grow opium offering them huge profit. “Analyses of our cases revealed that most of the arrested people were farmers and they would buy seeds from Madhya Pradesh. The smugglers would pay them between ₹1 and 1.5 lakh per kg opium,” he added.
“From planting to uprooting, accused learned illegal cultivation in Chittorgarh and Pratapgarh, which produce 60% of the total opium production in India. We have identified big smugglers involved in the illegal cultivation. Soon, they would be arrested,” Sharma said.
Opium poppy or papaver somniferum, a medicinal herb, produces a variety of alkaloids such as morphine and codeine, and is best known as a pain reliever in modern medicine. It is used for a range of treatments, from post-operative pain management and palliative care for terminal cancer patients to treating accident-related trauma and chronic pain syndromes.
However, large consignments of opium that includes its bulbous flowers, stems and raisins—all of these are used in making narcotics like charas and heroin.
In the last three years, the number of narcotics cases in Rajasthan has increased by 45.42%.