Move for special committee against opium rejected by assembly

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A motion  to set up a special committee for banning opium plantations submitted by the Chin National party (CNP) in northern Chin state, Burma was rejected by the third assembly at the state level between 24 to 26 February in Hakha, the capital of the state.

The motion was submitted by Pu Zozam, state Hluttaw representative from Teddim Township and Chairman of the CNP to ban opium plantations in the state.

A state minister said in the assembly that the state government’s Department of Narcotics Control is co-operating with international NGOs. So the state government finds there is no need to form a special committee to root out opium plantation, said Salai Ceu Bik Thawng, general secretary of CNP.

Opium plantations exist in Cikha Sub-township of Ton Zang Township, Ton Zang Township and Teddim Township of northern Chin state and opium consumption is on the increase among local youths, he added.

“We are threatened by this and this is a very dangerous issue in our society. The local youths are involved in opium plantation fields and some have become addicts after testing opium seed,” said Salai Thawng.

The CNP believes that a special committee needs to be formed to tackle these issues.

“I believe we will succeed to form a special committee to get rid of opium plantation in the state. The committee should comprise representatives of the local government, the central government, international NGOs and religious bodies,” said Salai Thawng.

The CNP estimates that over a thousand acres of opium are under cultivation in the state, but the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC) says in its report in 2011 that only ten hectors (24 acres) were under cultivation.

The UNODC report was based only on its investigation which was within its reach, but it is suspected that many more opium plantations could not be covered in the ambit of the report.

Agricultural crops are not profitable in northern Chin state, so, farmers are cultivating opium. Domestic animal husbandry should be implemented in a big way in the region to stop opium cultivation, said Salai Thawng.

“The local people do not want to go for opium plantation, but since there is lack of good agricultural crops they opt for opium plantation,” said Salai Thawng.

The government issued a statement on March 2011 that 15021.75 acres of opium plantation were destroyed in the region.

The CNP won nine seats in 7 November 2010 in Burma’s general election and bagged five state Hluttaw among 24 seats in the state. Khonumthung news

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