Bangladeshi army destroy poppy fields near Burmese border

The Bangladeshi army destroyed several acres of poppy fields cultivated by hill peoples in remote jungles near Burma’s western border recently, said an authority and local hill people in the area.

According to the authority source, around eight acres of paddy fields in Remagyi village tract under Bandarban district were destroyed by the Bangladeshi army during a two weeks long anti- narcotics operation ending on the 14th March 2013.

The Bangladesh army conducted the operation in the Penjhiri, Lake Kray, Modauk, Bula para, Dula Para located at upper Singu river, 60 kilometers south of Bandarban district town in Chittagong hill tract of Bangladesh.

Local hill people used to cultivate poppies in the area every year from October to March to earn extra money.
They produce opium from poppy but it is traded in local markets using the opium among the people traditionally.
“ Our hill people are very poor. So they cultivate poppy in remote areas to earn extra money. But every year they face army operations to destroy poppy fields. This year also many acres of paddy were destroyed by the Bangladeshi army,” said U Mwe Tha Aung from Remagyi villages.

However a few number of poppy fields remained in deep jungles as the Bangladeshi army is uneasy to reach in the area because it is located in very deep forests surrounding high mountain ranges, he said.

The hill people in the areas along the border with Burma are now suffering from authorities prohibitions on mountain cultivation due to deforestation.

It was learned that the hill people have been offered decent alternative livelihoods and education by the Bangladeshi authority.