Man, aide held for possessing 6.5 kg opium


Police arrested a young couple for illegally possessing 6.5 kilograms opium yesterday.

Among the arrested are Dilip Biswokarma, 22, of Jajarkot district and Pramila Raut, 18, of Bhimeshwor Municipality- 6, of Dolakha district. They were living in a house at Tarakeshwar Municipality-4, Kathmandu.

Acting on a tip-off Metropolitan Police Crime Division had mobilised police personnel in the area. The police had seized the opium carried by Bishwokarma in a black backpack from around Sesmatipul area, yesterday.

The duo said they had bought the opium from a remote area of Jajarkot district at Rs 150,000 per kilogram.

The opium was grown in the area. Pure raw opium like the one seized by the police comes at a price ranging Rs 200,00 to Rs 250,000 in Nepali market, according to police.

Senior Superintendent of Police Deepak Thapa of the MCD said Bishwokarma, who was a member of a large organised crime group, was going to trade the opium for Rs 800,000 per kilogram.

Raut told the police that she had transported the drug from Chitwan to Kathmandu.

The Kathmandu District Court has remanded five days of judicial custody for the couple. Police have also notified their units in Jajarkot about possible opium plantation in the area.

Opium cultivation is illegal in Nepal. However, people in the rural areas are still engaged in the farming of the high value drug. Raw opium is also converted to brown sugar through chemical reaction in laboratories. But, due to lack of knowledge and the chemicals to change its properties, opiums are mostly sold raw in the country, said SSP Thapa.

Opium is the dried latex obtained from a poppy plant, which contains morphine, an alkaloid, used to produce heroin.

Cultivation of opium plants is rampant in parts of the high hilly region these days, mainly in Makwanpur, Dhading, Baglung, Salyan, Jajarkot, Rolpa and Rukum. A few years ago, opium plantation was also common in Tarai districts like Rautahat, Bara and Parsa. But, the plantation in Tarai region has almost come to end due to continuous patrolling by the police, according to SSP Thapa.

Remoteness and economic backwardness of the rural people are major factors in illicit cultivation of opium. Due to lack of proper observation and police personnel, controlling opium production has become a herculean task for police.

A version of this article appears in e-paper on August 26, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.