Makwanpur folk return to marijuana farmingPeople in rural areas in Makwanpur, who worked with police to destroy marijuana last year, have themselves started commercial farming of the illegal crop this year
The local administration, political parties, NGO/INGOs and District Development Committee (DDC) in collaboration with villagers had declared the district free of marijuana and put forth various short, mid and long term projects aimed to provide the locals with alternative means of sustenance in a campaign last year. During the campaign, police had destroyed marijuana farming in around 2,031 hectares and opium planted in around 68 hectares of land over a period of several months.
The Agriculture Development Office and the Veterinary Office had distributed seeds of various fruits and vegetables along with livestock, including cattle and chicks, to the locals. However, the villagers had to incur a huge loss due to the absence of proper facilities to transport and store their produce. The failure of DDC act on its promise of opening a motorable track had cost the locals dearly. “People were compelled to turn to marijuana farming due to the government’s failure to work as promised,” said former VDC Chairman Rajkumar Malla. He said people, who were compelled to grow marijuana, had cooperated with the government after being assured of alternative resources.
Stating that commercial farming of marijuana surged in the western Makwanpur, lawmaker Rajaram Syangtan said the government was to blame for the scenario.
“We will not let the police destroy the plantation unless they ensure alternative means of sustenance for us,” a farmer at Namtar said. Namtar, Kalikatar, Dandakharka, Gogane, Kakada, Raksirang, Khairang, Bharta, and Sarkhet VDCs are notorious for marijuana farming.
Meanwhile, Chief District Officer Keshab Prasad Ghimire said they had forwarded a proposal to declare the district marijuana free along with various alternatives for farmers. Ghimire said they will destroy the plantation after ensuring alternative sources of income for the farmers. He said the local administration has also started coordinating with concerned authorities to increase the income of farmers via alternative sources and construct a road that connecting the remote villages with the highway. Meanwhile, local political leaders have started preparations to submit a memorandum to the local administration demanding that either proper and immediate alternative of income for the farmers be ensured or the marijuana farming be legalised.