Itanagar: In all, 349 poppy growers from the Lazu circle in Arunachal Pradesh’s Tirap district have voluntarily destroyed more than 40 hectares of poppy field area within the past one week and opted to adopt an alternate source of livelihood.
The poppy growers belong to the Old Kothung, New Kothung, Lower Chinhan, Sinnu, Noglo, Raho, Lonyan and Upper Chinhan villages.
The development comes following continuous persuasion from the district administration’s end, officials informed on Friday.
Officials said that the administration had created control, awareness, monitoring and enforcement (CAME) teams to persuade the villagers to shun poppy cultivation and instead opt for other livelihood resources. Accordingly, several awareness camps and meetings were also conducted.
“This wasn’t an easy task. However, consequent upon the orders from the government, the administration, led by deputy commissioner P N Thungon and S P Kardak Riba respectively convened a series of meetings with the community-based organizations, NGOs, public and students unions, village and panchayat heads. They also created strategies to tackle the poppy cultivation and drug menace from the district,” officials said.
“Accordingly, two strategies were adopted with the first one being organizing awareness programmes on the ill-effects of drugs and its impact on the future. The second strategy was to book the non-compliant cultivators under various sections of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act,” the officials added.
The non-registration of cases against the cultivators in the past owing to poor economic conditions of farmers had reportedly been a setback in curbing poppy cultivation in the district.
The DC and SP as well as the members of CAME started working on the strategies and finally their efforts yielded positive results. The villagers have finally realized the ill- effects of opium and this is the first of its kind in the history of the district that poppy growers have themselves destroyed their own cultivation, that too in such a large manner, officials said.
Meanwhile, the 349 beneficiaries have been assured to be provided with an alternate source of livelihood through various departments of the government soon.