Illegal opium cultivation on rise in Himachal Pradesh

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Kullu (Himachal Pradesh), May 16 (ANI): Illegal opium cultivation has reportedly increased in Himachal Pradesh, as the towns of Kullu and Mandi have become centres of opium traders in the region.

The illegal cultivation of poppy and cannabis has increased here with each passing year, particularly in the regions bordering Shimla district.

This has posed as a threat to the credibility of the state government and the police, as critics are of the view that top brass in the police administration have failed to tackle this social hazard.

Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal has, however, said that 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," said Dhumal.

The estimated land used for cultivation of opium in these areas is believed to be in the range of 175 hectares.

The estimated dry opium produced from this cultivated area is over 2000 kilograms, which is worth Rs four billion in the international market.

"The detection figures are on the rise. In 2009, first time Mandi crossed a triple digit figure of 110 cases with 112 kilograms of contraband. This year, the figure till March 31 had already crossed 100 cases," said Sonal Agnihotri, Superintendent Of Police, Mandi District. (ANI)

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