|Govt. Opium factory, Ghazipur India. Bihar Times|
|Ghazipur opium factory. Indiatimes.com|
01. The opium factory located in the town of Ghazipur, Utter Pradesh, during the colonial period, was the first one in India and was the main source of opium production in India.
02. It is now known as the Opium Factory Ghazipur or more formally, the Government Opium and Alkaloid Works.
|Opium war British imperialism. The Victorian Web|
03. It is believed to be the largest legitimate opium factory in the country and world. The Ghazipur factory began life as the Benaras Opium Agency, an entity of the East India Company, in 1820. Later the factory was in operation by the British during the First and Second Opium Wars with China.
06. The British empire's economy improved a lot and it's wealth increased manifold by way of opium export to China, making gullible Chinese nation addicted to opium. In those days, opium was combined with tobacco and smoked. One hit was approximately 200 milligrams of opium. There are 453592 milligrams in a pound, therefore one pound of opium represented 2,267 ‘hits’ of opium.
|Chinese addicts. The McClaughry's Blog -WordPress.comCj|
07. By the same token, the British forced the Indian farmers to cultivate opium on their lands, exploited their labor and damaged their lands. After certain periods of poppy plants, the land will become useless.
09. The factory is functioning over a land covering 43 acres and much of its buildings date back to colonial days.
10. Red brick was widely used for construction in the colonial time. The factory is across the banks of river Ganges from the main city of Ghazipur and is surrounded by high walls topped with barbed wire.
The products are transported with heavy security guards to Mumbai or New Delhi for further export. The factory is highly guarded by the security officers and the public has no access to the factory.
11. The other interesting fact is this factory, since its inception 1820, has been making excellent profit and has never seen the red ink. This is not true of Alkaloid Division started by the government later.
12. In the factory's vicinity, there is a temple dedicated to Baba Shyam, besides a Mazar, both of them have been there long before the factory. Of interest to the visitors is the presence of a solar clock, installed by the British opium agent Hopkins Esor from 1911 to 1913.
13. Rudyard Kipling, famous jungle novelist, after his visit to the factory at Ghazipur in 1888, published a description of its workings in "The Pioneer" dated 16 April 1888. (The text, "In an Opium Factory" is freely available from Adelaide University's ebook library).
14. Presently, its total output has to be decided by the board and is controlled legally under Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substance Act and Rules (1985) Govt. of India. It is under the administration of the Ministry of Finance, overseen by a committee and a Chief Controller.
15. The factory which has a total work force of about 900 , is a major and important contributor to the global pharmaceutical industry related to preparation of certain psychedelic medicine.
16. In the recent past, the total opium export from the Ghazipur factory to the USA and Europe was around 360 tons and at one time it was around 600 tons.
17. Though the cultivation of Opium poppy (Papaver Somnigerum) has come down drastically in Uttar Pradesh but it still cultivated by farmers of Rajasthan (Kota and Bhilwara) and Madhya Pradesh
18. The Ghazipur factory produced three kinds of Opium : The Provision Opium, the Excise Opium and Medical Opium. Now, they make one more kind, based on its purity value.
19. With its 12% morphine content The Indian licit Opium is considered as the purest form of Opium in the world with 12% morphine content. Obviously, it has huge demand in overseas countries.
20. With cheaper extraction methods Australia and Turkey are flooding the legal opium market with cheap opium.
21. The problem of junkie monkeys has not yet been properly addressed. Junkie monkeys have been here for generations and are part and parcel of the factory. They savour poppy stuff kept for drying in the yard. According to the factory manager 'The addiction is passed on from parent to child and they can't leave the area because they need the opium.' The elderly monkeys are too lethargic to look for food because they are often found sedated and emaciated
22. In the recent past the country's biggest and oldest opium factory was shut down for over a month for failing to comply with effluent discharge standards and directions to install an online effluent and emission monitoring system. Though it is temporary, for the first time, the machines stopped working in this factory.
23. The Neemuch factory, yet another British legacy of opium production, at Neemuch in Madhya Pradesh set up in 1933, is a modern one but the Ghazipur factory still is the biggest and largest not only in Asia but also in the world. The Nimach, also known as Neemuch opium factory is known to have the largest opium receptacle in the world, resembling a large backyard swimming pool. It holds 450 tons of opium.
(It may be of interest to you to read "Sea of Poppies" by celebrated novelist Amitav Ghosh. In this fiction he deals with the British opium trade in India and Ghosh's story is based on his research of the Ghazipur factory).