Gujarat is the latest favourite spot of drugs mafias. Recently, 3,000 kilograms of banned narcotics — heroin, was seized by the Indian law enforcement agencies. The investigators estimated that the drugs seized are worth Rs 21,000 crore in the international market and were shipped from Afghanistan. Gujarat with 1600 km coastline – the largest coastline of India has paved way for overseas trade and commerce for years. However, it has now become a malicious transit point for India’s drug trading.
Afghanistan is by far the world’s largest opium supplier and is estimated to produce four-fifths of global supply. The drug accounts for 11 per cent of the Afghan economy, the United Nations estimated in 2018. The opium being freely bought and sold in the drug bazaars of southern Afghanistan will soon make its way as heroin into the country’s neighbours. Britain could be flooded with heroin as Helmand farmers prepare to plant fields of poppies with rulers stalling on prohibition pledge. The sacks full of thick, brown opium paste give off a distinctive smell as turbaned traders and farmers haggle over prices. It is a trade which, a month ago, the Taliban said that they would stamp out in a repeat of a ban imposed under their 1990s regime.
Opium growers in Helmand said that they were again preparing to plant fields full of poppies, with the Islamist group having so far stalled on implementing a ban – one of a number of promises that appeared designed to please the West and have since been broken. It raised fear for British as this move could see a further influx of heroin as the Taliban choose to profit from this trade.
Afghanistan’s rulers announced that they would halt the business, which provides more than 90 per cent of the heroin in the UK. But they have fallen back after growers said they had received no such order and were preparing to carry on as normal. A trader in Nowzad district said “The trade-in opium is free and everyone can buy and sell without threat,” he said. The prices jumped from £57 per kilo to £78 amid uncertainty about production after Taliban took over.
A farmer said that he planned to plant an acre of opium and knew hundreds of farmers who were preparing to do something similar. While the trade brings in huge sums for some kingpins, many farmers scrape by but have little other way to make a living. People are in a bad economic situation and would not agree with a government ban this season. “We don’t have any other way to get money.” he said.
Jan Mohammad, a farmer who was planning to sow three acres when the planting season begins in a month, adding: “Without opium, we cannot get good returns from our land. If the Taliban wants to ban poppy cultivation, we want them to make a good government and prepare economic growth jobs and everything. If they can’t do that, we will grow opium.”