Opium tax is being collected from villagers by the local Burmese Army commander of the Light Infantry Battalion (LIB) No. 274 of Chin state, Burma citing it as forest taxation.
“The taxes collected amounted to 15,000 Kyats per village from this month in Cikha sub-township, Teddim Township,” said a local from Teddim town.
The local people told Khonumthung that Captain Aung Tin Hlaing from LIB – 274 collected money from villages having opium plantations calling it a forest produce.
“Earlier, we paid forest production taxes for wood, utensils etc. to the local army. But now, the local people are no longer involved in opium cultivation,” said a local from Cikha.
Opium cultivations were scaled down by the local people after Christian Churches leaders and social workers conducted awareness programmes for the people not to produce opium in the region.
“We can say that the awareness programme have been successful. It is really opposed to Christianity. We should stop opium cultivation because some young men become addicted to opium,” said a youth leader.
Interestingly, second battalion commander Major Aung Aung from LIB- 274 and an Indian drug peddler met in Tio River of No- 2, Indo-Burma trade road and discussed drug smuggling issues secretly in the first week of September. Khonumthung news