Villagers pledge to stop growing poppy

LAZU, Dec 10: Villagers of Lazu circle in Tirap district have pledged to shun poppy cultivation and embrace cash crops instead.
The pledge was administered by Khonsa ADC Jalash Pertin during a ‘development meeting’ held here on 7 December.
Pertin encouraged the poppy cultivators to shift to alternative cash crops like cardamom, orange, kiwi, walnut, stavia, vanilla, etc, for which, he said, necessary fund would be provided to them. He urged the heads of departments to help the farmers by preparing schemes “as per their choice.”
The ADC also assured the people that he would take initiative for early posting of a circle officer here.
During the pledge-taking function, the poppy growing farmers expressed helplessness with regard to cultivating alternative crops unless they are provided with financial assistance.
The HoDs present highlighted the central and state governments’ flagship schemes, and advised the public of Lazu circle to avail the schemes.
DSP Khewang Khetey highlighted various aspects of the NDPS Act, 1985, and informed that cultivation, sale and consumption of opium are offences under the act and may lead to five years of imprisonment or fine of upto Rs 1 lakh.
Public leaders of the area said they are fully aware that poppy cultivation is illegal but most of the villagers do not have alternative means of livelihood other than poppy cultivation. They also pointed out that “any alternative livelihood scheme provided to the people becomes unsustainable.”
Chiefs, GBs, church leaders and people from various villages of the circle, besides representative of the NERCORMP and CSC agents attended the meeting. (DIPRO)