The Bharti Kisan Union (Lakhowal) has begun a campaign to legalize poppy husk farming in Punjab. The farmers’ union is distributing “consent forms” among its district leaders and asking them to get these filled by a “maximum” number of farmers. The forms demand that the Punjab government must allow farmers to engage in poppy husk farming.
Union leaders met in Ludhiana on Friday where Ajmer Singh Lakhowal, state president of the union, said, “We are getting forms filled from farmers. The distribution was done today itself. In these forms, we have mentioned that poppy husk farming should be allowed on 1 acre of land per farmer in the state and hence its farming will be in a controlled state and farmers can earn money out of it.”
Ajmer’s son Harinder Singh Lakhowal said, “Poppy husk farming is being done in 12 states of India, including Rajasthan and Madhaya Pradesh. It is used in many medicines and at times pharmaceutical companies have to import husk. So we can earn up to Rs 7 lakh per acre by supplying husk to pharma companies. Apart from this, even Punjab’s youth can be given husk as substitute of heroin as it is a better option than synthetic drugs.”
“Our district unit presidents have taken 1,000 forms per district to start with. Our aim is to get nearly a lakh forms filled by November so we can submit these to the CM,” he said.
During PM Narendra Modi’s rally at Malaut on June 11, a farmer had stood with a placard with the message demanding that poppy husk farming be allowed to save Punjab’s youth.
Patiala MP Dr Dharamvira Gandhi has also written to the CM Capt Amarinder Singh on similar lines and his recommendations have been forwarded to Union government by the Punjab government.
At Friday’s meeting, farmers also discussed other issues like crop prices, demand of increase in prices of milk, subsidy for not burning crop stubble, among other issues.