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Rebels boosting poppy business in Myanmar

The sale of raw opium grown in Cikha sub-township near India's Manipur state is on the rise.

india Updated: Dec 28, 2006 10:04 IST

Poppy trade is flourishing in Myanmar, thanks to the activities of a rebel group that has the support of the country's military regime, a media report said.

It is boom time for cultivation and production of poppy as prospective buyers from other states have been gathering in western Myanmar.

Though intravenous drugs are particularly popular in northeastern India, opium abuse is equally prevalent in the region. The sale of raw opium grown in Cikha sub-township near India's Manipur state is on the rise, the Mizzima News reported.

The United Wa Army (UWA), under ceasefire terms, has entered the local market under the protection of the military junta, the anti-military news service said.

Shipment of the contraband is done mostly by the army vehicles, while free transportation is arranged by the rebel group. Four to seven cadres of the UWA stay regularly in Cikha and buy raw opium and cam with the help of the Myanmar Army, the report said.

The group monitors harvesting and collection of opium and makes purchases for the year. Raw opium is collected thrice annually.

Between September and November, the UWA bought more than 150 kg of raw opium from Cikha, while around 12,795 kg was sold from Tedim township in Chin state between May and August.

The UWA pays Kyat 100, 000 for 1.5 kg in the local market. There are around 20 poppy fields - three acres on an average in the 30 villages surrounding Cikha - and around 87 acres of land under poppy cultivation in Tedim.

First Published: Dec 28, 2006 10:04 IST