Bhubaneswar, Oct 25 (LocalWire): In a bid to nip cannabis-related crimes in the bud, Odisha police have intensified its drive in destroying illegal hemp plantations in remote forests of the state with a plan to develop satellite-based inputs of cannabis cultivation areas.
The state-run Odisha Remote Sensing Satellite Application Centre (ORSAC) has embarked upon the project to develop satellite inputs which will be of immense use to keep tab on hemp plantations.
As the plantation season of hemp which produces cannabis (a banned drug substance) has begun, the state police in joint coordination with excise and narcotics control department has chalked out a plan and set the target of destroying vast expanse of 8,000 acres of hemp plantation areas in 2019-20.
Eight districts – Kandhamal, Boudh, Deogarh, Sambalpur, Rayagada, Gajapati, Malkangiri and Nayagarh – are widely regarded as the epicentre of hemp cultivation.
The enforcement agencies in these districts are already on the job to launch a crackdown in plantation areas, Director General of Police, Bijoy Kumar Sharma said.
The enforcement agencies did an admirable job in 2018-19 by doubling the destruction of ganja crops against the target set last year.
As many as 11,627.244 acres of land that had come under ganja plantation were completely destroyed last year while the government fixed a target of 5,310 acres for demolition drive, he said.
Raids against cannabis are in full swing this year.
Police have arrested 1035 drug peddlers this year and seized 315.89 kg cannabis and 650 cases under Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act have so far been registered since 1 January.
The ganja routed through Odisha by organized drug syndicate is much in demand in other states because its price is on the lower side.
Hemp cultivation has emerged as a money-minting source of income.
The poor people living in forest-side villages are often ensnared by middlemen and drug smuggling racket agents. They are encouraged and funded to cultivate hemp by the racketeers.
With returns from hemp cultivation being more than 100-fold than that from paddy cultivation, the poorer section easily fall into the trap.
The yield from an acre of paddy cultivation will at best give an annual return of Rs 10,000 to Rs 15,000, while the return from hemp is as high as Rs 10 lakh.