India is one of the few countries that legally grow opium poppy and the only country which legally produces opium gum. Opium poppy (Papaver somniferous) plant is the source of opium gum which contains several indispensable alkaloids such as morphine, codeine and thebaine. Morphine is the best analgesic in the world. In case of extreme and excruciating pain such as that of terminally ill cancer patients, nothing alleviates the suffering except morphine. Codeine is commonly used in manufacture of cough syrups.
The NDPS Act empowers the Central Government to permit and regulate cultivation of opium poppy for medical and scientific purposes. The Government of India notifies the tracts where opium cultivation can be licensed as well as the General Conditions for issuance of license every year. These notifications are commonly referred to as Opium Policies. Opium cultivation is permitted in the notified tracts in the states of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. The General Conditions, among others, include a Minimum Qualifying Yield (MQY) to be tendered by the cultivators of each of these three states, to be eligible for license in the succeeding year.
The Central Bureau of Narcotics (CBN), Gwalior (Madhya Pradesh) under the Narcotics Commissioner issues licenses to the farmers to cultivate opium poppy. Each field of every cultivator is individually measured by officers of the CBN to ensure that they do not exceed the licensed area. The cultivators are required to tender their entire opium produced to the CBN and they are paid a price at the rates decided by the Government. The CBN sets up weighment centres during the harvest season and the cultivators bring their opium to these centres and tender the opium to the CBN.
|Opium Policy Notifications|