Shimla, India: The satellite images taken by the Narcotic Control Bureau (NCB) from the remote areas of Himachal Pradesh state in India have become a cause of concern in international circles. According to the available data, the area of opium cultivation has increased in recent times and the illegal laboratories may convert the opium to heroin.
The NCB has told the state Criminal Investigation Department (CID) that there was not only an increase in the area under the clandestine cultivation but there was definite switch over from cannabis to opium poppy and necessary action should be taken.
A recent report of the US foreign department has also specifically mentioned the shift from cannabis to opium cultivation in the higher reaches of the state, particularly Manali in Kullu district, which they feel could be feeding the underground laboratories to convert it to heroin. They said that even in 2004 the US foreign department had expressed fears that India was slowly but surely emerging as the biggest centre in the world for manufacturing heroin.
It had said that India is the only country which has given permission for legal cultivation of poppy for making opium, which is sold to the government to manufacture medicines.
Source: Times of India