Operation launched Poppy crop over 70 kanals destroyed in Swabi regions
SWABI, Feb 19: Police on Saturday launched a big operation to eradicate poppy cultivated in the isolated mountainous areas of Naranji region here and destroyed crop over 70 kanals on the first day, officials told this correspondent.
Before launching the operation it was confirmed by the officials that a number of people at Naranji had grown the poppy in the unreachable mountainous areas, thinking it would be difficult for the government and law-enforcement agencies to reach there.
The sources said that some of the staff had stayed at Naranji village before the operation, giving the latest information to the officials about the possible reaction of people.
“Despite ban on poppy harvest, the official monitoring agencies reported that the crop was cultivated in the remote areas of Naranji,” said an official. He said that after confirmation an action plan was prepared and operation launched early on Saturday morning.
The officials recalled that poppy was also eradicated in the same region in 2004, but that was voluntary destruction and pledges were made by the people that they would not cultivate the crop again.
Reports said that the crop was at a peak stage and the harvest was mostly going to be ready in the next 20 days.
When contacted, district police officer Muhammad Ijaz Khan confirmed that they had destroyed poppy over 70 kanals in Naranji region. He said that that the operation would continue till eradication of the banned crop.
Answering a question, he said that poppy was cultivated in the isolated mountain terrains, mainly in the small lands or in the middle of the wheat crop. “The police jawans and officials faced no resistance during the continued operation,” he said.
Answering another question, the DCO said that police had also arrested three people and more arrests were likely as a number of growers had gone underground.
The sources said that police officials had a complete details of all those who cultivated poppy and they would face the action.
The district officials might lodge FIRs under the Narcotics Control Substance Act, 1997 against those involved in poppy cultivation, the sources said.
However, local people said that most of the growers had no other choice, but to cultivate poppy to earn their livelihood. These remote areas even lacked the infrastructure essential for development of social sectors and people had almost no employment opportunities.
“The farmers are poor people and they are told by owners of the land to cultivate the crop.
The real criminals are the land owners,” said an official who was privy to a meeting held to consider legal action against the people involved in poppy cultivation. “We have also reports from Gadoon Amazai belt, which is centre of the poppy crop,” said another official.