Odisha government's anti-cannabis operation to involve drones, satellite imaging, remote sensors
The Chief Secretary also directed to identify the land records of private persons on whose land hemp is cultivated and initiate proceedings against them stringently as per provisions of NDPS Act.
BHUBANESWAR: Amid a rise in the seizure of cannabis and destruction of hemp cultivation by enforcement agencies in several districts, the Odisha government on Tuesday, October 5, 2021, decided to use drones, satellite imagery and remote sensing technologies to locate illegal plantations.
The decision was taken at a high-level meeting chaired by Chief Secretary SC Mohapatra. It was also decided that the police and the Excise department will intensify enforcement activities to prevent hemp farming in the State and destroy plants before they are harvested using modern technology.
The State police and Excise department have jointly destroyed hemp cultivation over 22,217 acre of land in ten districts in 2020-21 against 9,473 acres in 2018-19, said Principal Secretary, Excise Sushil Kumar Lohani.
Taking a district-wise review with collectors in the presence of DGP Abhaya and Additional Chief Secretary Home Sanjeev Chopra, the Chief Secretary directed to spot areas and villages where illegal hemp cultivation is undertaken, by gathering local intelligence.
The Chief Secretary also directed to identify the land records of private persons on whose land hemp is cultivated and initiate proceedings against them stringently as per provisions of NDPS Act. The collectors were asked to prepare district-level action plans for prevention of such illegal means of earning through targeted alternative livelihood interventions.
“Identify the poor tribal families who make a living from the trade and provide them alternative livelihood opportunities through convergence of Odisha Livelihood Mission, National Livelihood Mission, MGNREGS, farming of cash crop, agri-business, agro-product aggregation, small food processing units and allied activities,” Mohapatra told the officials. The Collectors were asked to visit villages where hemp cultivation was taken up earlier and talk with people for sustainable livelihood options.
The field level officers of different departments were asked to visit the villages frequently and follow up on livelihood activities with farmers and wage earners. Development Commissioner Pradeep Jena advised the department concerned to intensify awareness and IEC activities in the identified villages with the involvement of the village community, PRI representatives, NGOs, SHGs and farmers’ clubs. It was also decided to enhance grants under OLM, NRLM and departmental livelihood schemes in the vulnerable areas.