VISAKHAPATNAM: Police have adopted advanced technology to effectively track links in ganja smuggling, which is going on unabated in North Coastal Andhra, despite strict surveillance.
Speaking to TNIE, Alluri Sitarama Raju district Superintendent of Police P Satish Kumar said, “Based on call data records of the accused in NDPS (Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances) cases, we are tracking suppliers and also end-users of ganja. If an offender makes multiple phone calls to a common number, the addressee may be the source of the ganja from Odisha or some other place. We have tracked 3,006 phone numbers and submitted the data to Odisha, Telangana and Maharashtra to verify whether the addressees are involved in NDPS cases or not. This has helped us in identifying all chain links in NDPS cases.”
Satellite technology is also being used to locate the ganja cultivation areas in the Agency. The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) has been providing satellite images of the ground so as to enable police to identify the ganja cultivation areas with the help of longitude and latitude. With the help of satellite data, police are making ground-level inspections to destroy the ganja crop. The ganja cultivation season is yet to begin and it will be known only in October, the SP explained.
Special police teams are also using 10 to 12 drones while making field-level inspections in the Agency to destroy ganja crops. Surveillance has been stepped up in border villages of Injari, Kondrum, Killamkota, Darakonda, Lakshmipruam and other interior places in the Agency.
Referring to ganja consumption, the SP said, “The number of addicts in ASR district is very less. As per the directive of the DGP, all the end-users in other districts have also been identified and cases registered against them. If the end-users are students, counselling will be provided to them.”
The Preventive Detention Act has been invoked against 37 ganja peddlers in the district so far. Ganja cultivation is also negligible in the ASR district. But, ganja is being smuggled into the district through multiple entry points across the border. Dynamic vehicle checking is being conducted at entry points to curb ganja smuggling.
After the launch of Operation Parivartana, the ganja crop acreage has come down to 1,000 acres from 7,000. Tribals are being encouraged to take up the cultivation of alternative crops by providing them with farm inputs. As a result, cultivation of coffee, rajma, turmeric and other crops was taken up in 7,500 acres last year.
“We are planning to increase the acreage under coffee, rajma, turmeric and other crops to 10,500 acres this year to end ganja cultivation. The government agencies have been roped in to provide market linkage for the farm produce of tribals to augment their income,” the SP added.