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West Bengal Demands Permission for Poppy Cultivation

Chief Minister Mamta Banerjee has demanded permission for poppy cultivation in West Bengal, stating that poppy seeds are integral to Bengali diet.

Eashani Chettri
Chief Minister Mamta Banerjee has requested the Centre for permission to grow poppy in Bengal
Chief Minister Mamta Banerjee has requested the Centre for permission to grow poppy in Bengal

On Thursday, Chief Minister Mamta Banerjee said that she has a discussion with the Centre to allow poppy cultivation in Bengal. While addressing the assembly, Banerjee said that the people of the state should also be able to enjoy the delicacies made from poppy seeds

In Bengal, the poppy or ‘posto’ prices are high because it is not produced in the state and is only cultivated in a few regions.

“We, Bengalis, love posto. Why does the cultivation have to be restricted to four states? We consume it every day in West Bengal but is still not cultivated in our state,” she stated.

“Should we always purchase posto from other states at such expensive prices? Why do we not have the permission of cultivating posto here? I will ask the opposition members to write to the Centre about this,” she said. She further clarified that not all poppies are drugs.

“We have several farms where we can cultivate it. If we start cultivating poppy in our state, we will be able to procure it at ₹ 100 (per kg), instead of ₹ 1,000. Sometimes, we have to take unanimous decisions. All poppies are not drugs,” she continued.

West Bengal has been striving to get the permission for cultivating highly regulated poppy seeds; which are crucial to the Bengali cuisine. Budget discussion were also spoken about, relating to Food and Supplies Department.

"Our farmers are now making more money. Now, they are four times as wealthy. Our experts' research efforts have benefited us in a number of ways. I had suggested this to them. Some people say I'm stupid in politics. My bad fate is that I don't fit in with them,” she remarked.

According to Ms. Banerjee, the Center should provide similar tax benefits to the West Bengali "gobindobhog" and "tulaipanji" varieties of rice in the same way as it does for basmati.

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