16 January, 2021

"Let Them Grow Opium In UP"

"Let Them Grow Opium In UP"
Madhya Pradesh chief minister Digvijay Singh has set the cat among the pigeons—he's written to the Centre seeking a blanket ban on opium cultivation in his state to check growing drug abuse. He's still waiting for a response from New Delhi.

In the meantime, more than 60,000 farmers in the state are busy growing opium on 16,000 hectares of land in Mandsaur, Ratlam and the Neemuch districts of the state. The state enjoys the dubious distinction of accounting for 57 per cent of India's annual opium production. Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan pitch in for the rest. While illegal trade has opened the doors of prosperity for many, the MP's total legitimate export is only worth $40 million annually. Much of the produce finds its way to illicit markets where it is sold at almost ten times its official price. A well-organised racket, the trade is run by a powerful mafia with political patronage.

What is the motive behind the chief minister's latest move? Is he trying to fix his rivals or does it open a new front with the Centre? Whatever it may be, the latest call only...


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