Himachal a home for opium cultivation?

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Kullu, May 15 (ANI): Illegal cultivation of poppy and cannabis in Himachal Pradesh has increased with each passing year, particularly in Kullu, Mandi and the regions bordering Shimla district, according to some reports.

Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal says thta besides awareness campaigns, efforts have been initiated to curb this menace.

"The State government is taking steps and we have started a movement to curb the cultivation of opium in the valley. The authorities are also taking help from the Narcotics Bureau to stop the illegal cultivation of opium", Dhumal added.

The estimated land used for cultivation of opium in these areas is believed to be in the range of 2100 bighas (175 hectare).

The estimated dry opium produce from this cultivated area is over 2000 kilograms and in the international market, this is worth around rupees four billion.

"The detection figures are on the rise. In 2009, Mandi crossed a triple digit figure of 110 cases with 112 kilograms of contraband. This year, the figure till March 31 has already crossed 100 cases", said K K Indoriya, Superintendent of Police, Kullu Range, Himachal Pradesh. (ANI)

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