Ghazipur Opium factory, country's biggest and oldest, shuts down

Ghazipur opium factory, India’s biggest and oldest legal opium factory with premises covering 45 acre of land and sprawling over two adjoining compounds, has been shut down after being operational for 197 years, though for a temporary period of time.

The factory was closed down on March 1st, for failing to comply with orders to install an online effluent and emission monitoring system. Once the norms are fulfilled, it would resume operations.

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"We are hopeful of fulfilling the requirements in the next two months and restart regular operations," factory General manager Ramesh Kumar told TNN.

Even though the machines and the factory are shut, workers are manually testing opium, which takes two to three months for one batch of opium.


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Ghazipur factory was the first factory in India to begin processing of opium. It also saw setting up of an alkaloid plant in 1943 during World War-II.

The decision to close down the factory was not taken overnight, shows data from Central Pollution Control Board, which had given the direction to shut the factory on February 10.

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In 2015, a show-cause notice was issued to the factory, directing it to submit online 24x7 monitoring data to the State Pollution Control Board. On failing the direction, an order to shut down the factory was passed on January 19, 2016, but the authorities asked for an extension of nine months. Missing the deadline of November 30, 2016, the factory was given another extension of three months at the completion of which it was shut with immediate effect.

(Image source TOI)