Opium farming booming in Parsa villages

Administration accused of protecting wrongdoers

• DPO ignorant of illegal plantation

Birgunj, March 20

Opium farming is increasingly becoming popular among farmers in Parsa district, a source said.

The peasants are supported by smugglers, who in turn have political and administrative backing, the source accused.

Nearly 50 bighas of land in Parsa district’s Bhawaratar, Bishrampur, Santhi Auraha, Nagardaha, Gamhariya, Kauwa Bankataiya VDCs are covered with poppy plants this year. Santhi Auraha’s Santhi and Kauwa Bankataiya started opium plantation from this year. “If the authorities concerned continue ignoring this illegal act, the number of people pursuing this occupation will increase by three-fold next year,” said a local. Seeds are planted in October-November which will be ready to harvest by mid-March. A local at Bhawaratar VDC said: “Except a few, almost all the crops harvested this year have been sold in the Indian market.”

Opium cultivators from Bishrampur VDC pay Rs 850,000 to the police and administration through a middlemen every year, claimed a source. Bishrampur and Bhawaratar VDCs are 10-15 km away from the district headquarters Birgunj. Bishrampur does not have even a temporary police post.

The people in those villages were cultivating hemp till two years ago and now they have switched to the opium cultivation, as its prices have gone up in the international market. The source claimed that opium can fetch Rs 40,000 a kg at the local market. Even the opium fruits without juice gives Rs 50 a kg. The opium seeds cost Rs 150 per kg. The peasants said that with the investment of Rs 500 on a kattha of land they can produce 750 grams of opium. “Since all villagers are into this profession, it cannot be denied that there is political and administrative backing,” said local NC leader Ajaya Dwibedi.

“The District Police Office, District Administration Office and Zonal Police Office were informed almost daily about this illegal business, but no legal action has been initiated against the wrongdoers so far,” said a local, requesting anonymity.

However, deputy superintendent of police at the Parsa District Police Office, Sriprasad Prasai, said his office has not received any information about the opium plantation. He refuted the allegation that the cultivation was being run under the protection of the administration.