Lanka becomes transit point for hemp smugglers

Union Ministry of Home Affairs asks Andhra Pradesh Police to keep a strict vigil on such operations.

Published: 15th May 2016 03:58 AM  |   Last Updated: 15th May 2016 03:58 AM   |  A+A-

Lanka

VISAKHAPATNAM: THAT cannabis is smuggled out of India from Visakhapatnam has come as a rude shock to the Union Ministry of Home Affairs which, acting on the information, has asked the AP Police take a look into the extent of the operations.

According to sources, cannabis also known as ganja and hemp, is grown in North Andhra and Kerala and is being shipped out to Sri Lanka through fishing boats. The contraband from there is finding its way to other countries. The Ministry also has inputs from the Sri Lankan government that Indian cannabis is landing in its country.

In fact, the Lankan Navy arrested as many as 140 smugglers, including 20 Indians, last year and seized huge quantity of weed from the vessels. According to information, a large number of smugglers are promoting the ganja cultivation in Kerala and Andhra Pradesh,  particularly in north coastal agency areas.

LankaA.PNG 

The smugglers are exporting hemp to various nations with Sri Lanka as a transit point. The investigation officials found that many fishing boats from various points in Tamil Nadu and Kerala coast were engaged in smuggling the hemp.

Initially, the investigation agencies expected the youth addicted to hemp from Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Telangana are involved in the smuggling. However, with the leads of the Sri Lankan Navy, the officials found several new facts during their probe.

It was discovered that Seelavathi, a sought-after variety of the weed, was being cultivated in the agency areas of north coastal Andhra region.

Though raids were conducted and nabbed the green drug smugglers, the ganja smuggling still thrives in Andhra Pradesh.

As the issue assumed serious proportions, the state government decided to take stringent action against the hemp cultivators in the agency pockets. The government also decided to destroy the weed fields with the help of the satellite images. The issue was also discussed in the recently held conference of DGPs at Bhogapuram in Vizianagaram district.

As there is a huge demand for the hemp, the smugglers are promoting its cultivation on the Andhra-Odisha borders by offering good money to the tribals.

“Several tribals have turned ganja farmers in the agency areas. Tempted by the Big money, the tribals from both Odisha and AP have started cultivating the contraband in dense forests. To completely destroy the ganja fields, the help of Odisha police is needed,” said a senior police official.

The government should also announce sops and schemes for tribals who voluntarily destroy the ganja plantations, he suggested.

In 2014 and 2015, the Visakhapatnam police arrested 1,150 persons and seized over 50 tonne of ganja and a number of vehicles. However, no kingpin was arrested. The police finally found that there were five major gangs involved in the ganja cultivation. During their interrogation, the police failed to get the required information from the accused about the kingpins. The accused informed the police that they did not know the smugglers. The police zeroed in on one Murugan, a key person of one of the five gangs.

A Home department official confirmed that a huge quantity of Andhra-brand ganja was being exported to Sri Lanka.

Stay up to date on all the latest Andhra Pradesh news with The New Indian Express App. Download now
(Get the news that matters from New Indian Express on WhatsApp. Click this link and hit 'Click to Subscribe'. Follow the instructions after that.)

Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp