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India: Turkish import seeds a poppy war in India

Poppy war, or perhaps poppy skirmish. India’s heavily regulated poppy economy – the milky white fluid from seeds, called latex, is the mainstay of illegal drugs trade around the world – is witnessing a small but intense conflict over the Central Board of Narcotics (CBN) decision to ship in 18,000 metric tonnes of white poppy seeds from Turkey.

A group of poppy importers and India’s poppy farmers are alleging that a small number of importers have cornered the latest import order via an informal cartel. The allegation is also that these importers had paid Turkish exporters much in advance of the CBN order.

Questions sent to CBN by ET around two weeks back were not answered at the time of going to press. ET is not naming importers alleged to have acted as a cartel because it could not independently verify these charges. Some importers making these allegations spoke off record.

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