90 percent poppy cultivated in southwestern provinces
LASHKARGAH (PAN): Ninety percents of poppy crop is being cultivated in southwestern provinces of the country, an official said on Saturday.
The Counternarcotics Minister Zarar Ahmed Moqbal accompanied by some Wolesi Jirga members and foreign officials, addressed a meeting during his visit to Helmand, that they have accelerated their efforts to fight against narcotics and prevent the poppy cultivation.
“Despite taking other strong measures against poppy growing, we should eliminate the root causes of the issue, create awareness, provide alternative and enforce law,” he added.
The ministry would build a drug addicts’ rehabilitation centre in Helmand and its contract has been signed with a company, he said adding buildings for Helmand University and Helmand Civil Hospital would also be constructed in the near future.
In response to a question whether the crop is cultivated on the government lands confiscated by people, he said:” we are concerned over the issue, but police will take urgent and serious steps in this regard.”
Helmand Governor Mohammad Naeem said that the ratio of poppy cultivation in 2012 was lower than 2011, with the help of tribal elders. The ratio has been decreased to zero in government controlled areas, he said.
He had talked with donor agencies to launch agricultural infrastructure projects in the province including the construction of Kajaki dam to be an alternative for poppy crop, he added.
Public representative from Helmand in the Wolesi Jirga, Mohammad Wali Alizai, criticized on government for arresting innocent people instead of drug traffickers.
Of the total 3629 arrested people on drug charges in Pul-e-Charkhi prison, hardly 29 would be real smugglers, he claimed.
A tribal elder from Nawa district, Hajji Atiqullah, asked the minister and the international community to rebuild cotton factory of Helmand, construct Kajaki dam and and Nahri Siraj canal to be alternative for poppy.
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