ITANAGAR, Feb 21 - In a major anti-drug crackdown, a joint team of Tirap district administration and Narcotics Control Bureau, Guwahati Zonal Unit assisted by security forces personnel destroyed 191 acres of opium poppy plants during a week-long operation at various places in Lazu circle of the district.
The team, also comprising personnel from the Arunachal Pradesh Police, 1st IRBn, 16 Assam Rifles and 36 Bn CRPF, had carried out the anti-opium drive from February 14 to 18 covering the remote villages of Lazu, Sanliam, Pongkong, Sinnu, Lonyan, Noglo, Lower Chinhan and Upper Chinhan (Horu Chinhan), according to an official release here today.
Even though opium cultivation, a punishable offence, is prohibited under the provisions of NDPS Act, 1985, there was, however, no report of the police making any arrest during the crackdown.
Tirap Deputy Commissioner Ravi Jha had earlier constituted different teams for destruction of illicit poppy cultivation fields. He briefed the teams that opium poppy cultivation is prohibited under Section 8(b) of the NDPS Act, 1985 (as amended) and is a punishable offence and there is a greater need to destroy its cultivation to compel its cultivators to opt for alternative cultivation.
The DC also emphasized that people of Lazu circle should adopt cultivation of alternative cash crops, like large cardamom, large ginger and large chilly as the Agriculture & Horticulture Departments, NERCORMP, etc., are providing seeds and other facilities under various schemes from time to time to replace the illegal opium cultivation in the district.
During the massive operation, it has been seen that a few people have started cultivating cardamom in pockets in Lazu circle. However, most of the farmers of the area are still dependent on opium/poppy plantation for their livelihood. Some people approached the team to provide some alternative source to compensate for the destroyed poppy plants, the release said.
It is worth mentioning here that several districts in eastern Arunachal Pradesh, including Tirap, have been facing the menace of home-grown poppy/opium, besides the illegal trade of illicit substances from across the border, with the international boundary with Myanmar remaining largely porous.