Chatra: It is a paradigm shift in Giddhor area of Chatra district where the fragrance of marigold flowers has dominated over the smell of opium as the people have moved from farming banned crop to marigold business thanks to Agriculture Science Centre in the area. 

Till a year ago, the farmers of the area used to do opium farming illegally in thousands of acres of their land but with strict stand of the state government, people switched to planting marigold and now the brisk business of flowers is spreading its aroma in neighbouring states too, including West Bengal,Bihar and Odisha.

Promod Kumar, a farmer, has become a source of inspiration for others in growing the marigold flowers. Chatra Agriculture Science Centre has inspired Promod to grow marigold assuring him a good return from sale of the flowers.

Dr Ranjay Kumar Singh, scientist at the Agriculture Science Centre, said, “Undoubtedly, it’s a phenomenal change. Planting marigold flowers in one-acre land fetches around Rs 70,000.”

The farmers are harvesting opium in Giddhor since 2004. Earlier, when the police tried to stop them from cultivating the banned crop, they even clashed with the cops leading to violence and arson.