BHUBANESWAR: Cannabis cultivation spread over 4000 acres of land was destroyed by the Odisha Police from January to September this year. Informing this, the police said during the period, 2,424 acres of illegal cultivation of ganja was destroyed in Kandhamal district, 840 acres in Boudh and 771 acre in Gajapati district. Similarly, a record quantity of cannabis, brown sugar and cash were seized.
While 673 quintal of cannabis was seized during the period, its annual seizure stands at 304.3 quintals in 2017, 428.84 quintal in 2016 and 198.12 quintal in 2015.
The police also seized 915.5 grams of brown sugar in 2018 as compared to 411.51 grams in 2017 and 704.44 grams in 2016. They had also seized record amount of cash in 2018 with the seizure of Rs 12 lakh as compared to Rs 2.31 lakh in 2017, Rs 3.08 lakh in 2016 and Rs 11.30 lakh in 2015. “In the last season, about 4,600 acre of cannabis cultivation was destroyed.
In the previous years, on an average about 2,500 acre of land to 3,900 acre of cannabis cultivation was destroyed,” said DGP Dr RP Sharma during a workshop organised by the State Crime Branch to check the cultivation and sell of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances. This apart, 115 vehicles, including 11 trucks, 47 four-wheelers, two three-wheelers and 55 twowheelers, were seized from the accused in 2018 as compared to annual seizure of 138 in 2017, 116 in 2016 and 84 in 2015. Police have also registered 435 cases in 2018 and arrested 668 persons, including 24 women, as against 571 cases in 2017, 548 in 2016 and 517 in 2015.
The cops are having a twoprong approach - destruction of cannabis cultivation and enhancing efforts to check the trafficking of the contraband - to deal with the issues, he added. Though large-scale cannabis cultivation was going on in Malkangiri district, operations were not carried out due to Maoist activities, which pose a security threat. Alternative livelihood options should be provided to locals, who cultivate ganja, to check the practice, the police said.