Mrunal Manmay Dash

The dense forests of Similipal National Park in Mayurbhanj have hidden many things inside it. However, among many things, nobody had thought to find hectares of opium poppy plantations here.

As per reports, the Excise Department officials raided another opium poppy plantation in the interior areas of the forest and destroyed over 5 lakh plants.

This is the third time in the last two months that a poppy plantation has been found and destroyed by the forest department. It has an approximate market value of around Rs 10 crore. Till now, opium poppy plantations worth Rs 28 crore have been found and destroyed in Similipal.

Speaking about the finding, Mayurbhanj Excise Superintendent Prashant Kumar Kanhar said, “We received reliable information about a poppy plantation in our area. Apart from the excise and the forest department personnel, the locals should also be trained to identify poppy and Ganja plantations.”

“Local people should know the uses of opium poppy plant so that they can cooperate with us,” Kanhar added.

The Forest Department said it will now train its personnel to keep a vigil on the poppy and Ganja plantation. Moreover, the forest department has assured to undertake drives to make the locals aware of the evils of the opium poppy plantation.

As per reports, opium poppy farming has been going on in the sanctuary over the years while locals have been under the impression that they are growing poppy seeds. It is suspected that there are some other remote areas where such illegal farming might be thriving unnoticed.

While the mastermind behind the plantation is yet to be identified, it is suspected that mafias from Jharkhand employ gullible tribals in the jungle and make them farm these plants in return for some money.

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