R'than court bans sale of poppy husk

Tells Raje govt to cancel all licences

In a major decision, the Rajasthan High Court has banned the sale of poppy husk and opium in the state.

The decision was given by division bench of Chief Justice Anil Ambwani and Justice B L Sharma while hearing the petition filed by Chandigarh based NGO.

The court has asked the state government to cancel all licences earlier issued by the state government for sale of poppy husk and opium in 2015-16.

The court has also directed that opium addicts in Rajasthan should be given their daily doses under the supervision of doctors in any of the government hospitals.
Over the period of time doctors will have to reduce the doses. There are 17,000 people who have licences issued by the state government for consumption of poppy husk and opium.

“The petition was filed by Chandigarh based NGO ArriveSAFE which requested the court to ban sale of poppy husk and opium in Rajasthan. It was taking a heavy toll on heath of locals and the open sale lured thousands of drug addicts from Punjab to visit Rajasthan,” said Anil Mehta, the petitioner’s advocate.

Last year the cental government had directed the state to ban sale of opium and poppy husk by March 31, 2015. The state government refused to accept the orders saying that a large number of people in western Rajasthan are addicts and a sudden ban on sale may affect their health.

The state government assured to close all shops by 2016 and run de-addiction camps in western Rajasthan.

However, according to the new directives the sale of poppy husk and opium has been banned but production will continue unabated as it is also used in medicines. In such a condition the state government will have to be extra cautious to check the possibility of black marketing because poppy husk is produced from the waste left after the harvest of opium crop.

“Consumption of poppy husk or opium milk has been a custom in western Rajasthan. Over a period of time it became a basic necessity,” said a legislator from Barmer on condition of anonymity.

Any shortage in supply of poppy husk at licensed government shops leads to a law and order situation in the border districts, the politician said.

In a bid to bring down consumption of poppy husk, over a decade back the state government began issuing permits on the recommendation of doctors who certified a person as addict and prescribed a minimum consumption of poppy husk for survival.

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