Srinagar: The law enforcement agencies and the Excise Department lodged 18 First Information Reports (FIRs) and removed 1200 kanal of land in Kashmir from poppy since April 2023 as part of the J&K government’s “act tough policy” against the drug menace which has spread its wings across J&K.
The civil and Police administrations of Jammu and Kashmir have started a campaign to take harsh action against those who are involved in poppy cultivation, which is a source of opium and heroin throughout Kashmir.
Excise Commissioner Pankaj Sharma told Greater Kashmir that they had cleared poppy from 1200 kanal of land in Kashmir so far this fiscal (from April 1 to May 25).
“On a vast scale, we have damaged the poppy crop. Eighteen FIRs have been recorded thus far this year. Majority of the poppy is grown in Kulgam and other districts of south Kashmir, where our teams are constantly monitoring the situation,” Sharma said. “We are taking action as well as destroying the poppy wherever it is being cultivated to send a deterrent to people indulging in this thing.”
J&K Police is also taking the lead in the battle against the drug epidemic and is also at the forefront of efforts to eradicate the covert poppy growing that takes place throughout Kashmir.
A senior Police official said that illicit farming of poppy was mostly practiced in the south Kashmir districts of Anantnag, Pulwama, Shopian, and Kulgam.
“After 1989, hundreds of farmers in the southern areas began cultivating marijuana and poppy. Now with the improving law and order situation, the attention of the security grid has shifted towards narco-terrorism,” he said.
The law enforcement agencies continue to combat the problem of illegal marijuana and opium growing at a local level. “Under the NDPS Act, we are arresting people found indulging in drug trafficking as well as cultivation of poppy,” a Police official said.
NDPS Act prohibits people from production, manufacturing, cultivation, possession, sale, purchasing, transport, storage, and consumption of any narcotic drug or psychotropic substance.
According to a senior Police officer, “Drug traffickers will be dealt with harshly, and no one will be spared. According to the NDPS Act, we will begin attaching the property of drug traffickers.”
According to the National Survey on Extent and Pattern of Substance Use in India conducted by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment through the National Drug Dependence Treatment Centre (NDDTC) of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) New Delhi, there are approximately 10 lakh drug addicts in Jammu and Kashmir.
The Union Ministry informed the Parliament, citing the survey, that an estimated 108,000 men and 36,000 women had been found using marijuana in J&K, while 534,00 men and 8000 women had been caught up in the dragnet of opioids, and 1,60,000 men and 8000 women had been discovered using sedatives of various kinds.
The Ministry further informed the Parliament that in J&K, 127,000 men and 7,000 women had been seen using inhalants and that a significant number of men and women were addicted to cocaine, amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS), and hallucinogens.
On April 19, during the inaugural event of the first National Conference of Anti-Narcotics Task Force, Union Home Minister Amit Shah announced that India would be drug-free by 2047.