RAJSHAHI, Mar 11: Poppy is being cultivated in a remote village of Mohadevpur upazila under greater Rajshahi district.
Officials of the Department of Narcotics Control in a recent drive stormed into the field of Kunduna village under Raigaon union and destroyed poppy plants being cultivated with other flowers beside a pond. The cultivators Kazem Uddin Sarder and his five sons Anwarul Islam (48), Yunus Ali (42), Ataur Rahman (38), Altaf Hossain (36) and Yusuf Ali (30), however, said they have no idea those flowers belonged to banned poppy.
Due to its wide range of use as a drug, poppy is also termed as 'Mother Drug' and when the officials of the Narcotics Control Department first watched the full grown poppy plant with attractive flowers, they could not believe it to be authentic at the first sight. As the import of poppy seed is also banned in the country and, so far, no news of cultivation of poppy was noticed from anywhere in the country, it was really hard to believe that poppy could be cultivated in a remote village beside varieties of flower.
Officials said Kazem Uddin Sarder and his sons were cultivating poppy on a piece of land of one Anwarul Islam by evading the vigilance of law enforcement agency members and the administration which was sure an offence. Drugs worth several millions of Taka could be made from the poppy they were cultivating.
Based on a tip off, officials of Narcotics Control went to the field on March 05 and interrogated Kazem Uddin Sarder and his sons but they said they have no idea that those are poppy. They further said they used to cultivate flowers of different varieties in the field (garden). They said they brought the saplings from Bogra. Officials of the department later removed 300 poppy plants with flowers from the garden and destroyed those. The officials also arrested Anwarul Islam (48) in this connection and awarded him one month of imprisonment with a fine of Tk 20,000. Assistant Commissioner (Land) and Executive Magistrate SM Habibul Hasan pronounced the verdict by setting a mobile court on the spot.
Sabuj Chandra Devnath, inspector of Narcotics Control Department, said heroin is produced from the fruit of poppy. For this reason, cultivation of the poppy plant is banned and a punishable offence in the country. He further said, the poppy saplings were bought from Bogra as flower plants and they transplanted those in the garden three to four-month ago. Both the cultivators and the owner of the land informed they have no idea that those were banned poppy plants. He further said, if anyone is seen to cultivate poppy plant further, he will be punished.