Police take steps to curb opium farming in remote areas of MakwanpurThe first time police discovered an opium plantation in the district was five years ago.
The remote areas of Raksirang and Kailash Rural Municipalities in the western part of Makwanpur district is a breeding ground for opium farming, say police.
The District Police Office in Makwanpur has started keeping a close watch on poppy farming after many people were found to be involved in the commercial production of opium, which is processed chemically to produce heroin and other opioids.
Police believe that drug smugglers are active in these areas, luring locals into cultivating opium. From January 1 to 5, a team of police personnel destroyed poppy plants cultivated in around 70 bighas of land in the two municipalities, said Sushil Singh Rathour, superintendent of police at the District Police Office in Makwanpur.
“In Devitar, Pandung, Ranibang, Jyamung, Sanobhawar and Indatar, among other areas, of the Raksirang Rural Municipality, the district police found 50 bighas of land where opium was cultivated,” said Rathour.
The poppy plants are cultivated around the year, except in April, May and June. The crop, planted in the month of December, is generally harvested in March-April.
Inspector Sujan Pathak, who was in the clean-up campaign of illegal marijuana and opium farming, said, “We destroyed poppy and marijuana plants for five straight days. But we failed to identify farmers as villagers refused to disclose information on the matter.”
The first time police had discovered an opium plantation in the district was five years ago. At that time, police had found that over 40 bighas of land in Makwanpur were being used to cultivate opium.
“Locals are still engaged in marijuana and opium plantation due to the absence of security personnel in remote areas. The people who had been farming fled the scene before police arrived,” Pathak said.
According to him, the villagers did not help them identify the landowners, so the police could not take action against the farmers.
Preferring anonymity, one of the teachers at Athare Secondary School in Raksirang Rural Municipality Ward No. 9 said poppy farming has become a cash crop in the local unit.
“Local farmers are lured by drug smugglers to plant poppies, as they can earn a huge amount of money from it. If this continues, opium farming will bypass illegal marijuana farming within a few years,” he said.
Although Raksirang and Kailash rural municipalities have prepared working guidelines to make their local units free of marijuana and opium farming, such guidelines have borne little results so far.