28 September, 2020

Sister Morphine Comes To Opium Country

Sister Morphine Comes To Opium Country

THE giveaway is spread across thousands of hectares where pink-and-white flowers flutter in the breeze. Just off the Mumbai-Delhi highway, the Malwa-Mewar region is the largest opium-growing area under legal cultivation in the world. It has brought untold riches to cultivators, dealers, carriers, politicians and supervisors-and now the size of the pot has zoomed into the stratosphere. This is opium country.

This used to be opium country, actually, until sister morphine and brother heroin made an appearance. For the 1,20,000 people who have acquired legal pattas (permits) to cultivate poppy in Ratlam, Mandsaur and Neemuch in western Madhya Pradesh, 'trade' (smuggling) in opium is old hat. With the entry of heroin and morphine, almost every hut in the region has become a 'factory', every second farmer a legally defined smuggler, every manual labourer a carrier and a large section of policemen, politicians and narcotics officials have become active collaborators.

In the last two months alone, eight district narcotics officials from the Central Bureau of Narcotics (cbn) were...



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