In the picture of cannabis smuggling from Odisha, the scene of a political 'high' has made an entry when CM of the neighbouring state, Chhattisgarh, on Sunday singled out Odisha to do the needful so as to stop the ever-growing Ganja smuggling activities here.
Already under pressure over starlet Rhea Chakraborty's 'Bhubaneswar Is the scene, dude' exclamation, the sweeping statement on the Naveen Patnaik led government by a CM of another state has given the explosive ammo to the Opposition here to fire at the ruling dispensation.
While the BJP painted the cannabis smuggling episodes in the State as a failure of the incumbent government in identifying the real culprits, the Congress saw it through the shades of the hand-in-glove act of some corrupt babus and cops with the mafias.
As the Ganja smuggling scenes in Odisha has hopped over to a political canvass, the time is ripe for a reality check on narcotics smuggling in the State.
The Cannabis Picture
Of late, the Ganja smuggling seems to have been rampant in the State, if the seizure data of Odisha police is anything to go by.
The State police have seized a mere 73 quintals of cannabis in 2010. The seizures a decade hence have been astronomical - 1549.8 quintals in 2020.
As per Odisha DGP Abhay, who had a stint in NCB, the districts that led the seizure chart are Koraput, Malakngiri and Gajapati.
Similarly, the data available with Narcotics Control Bureau reveals that while Andhra Pradesh leads the cannabis seizure chart in the country, Odisha finished at second place.
In the given context, the report Smuggling In India 2019-20 has clearly identified AP and Odisha as the two top Ganja outsourcing states in the country.
It says, "The Ganja smuggling corridor originates from Odisha and Andhra Pradesh. And it travels through Telangana, Chhattisgarh and MP to the consuming states of UP, Bihar, Delhi, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu."
Meanwhile, Tamil Nadu police investigations revealed that Ganja originating from Andhra Pradesh get exported to Sri Lanka via the land routes of TN.
Is Odisha In The Dock?
As per the UN Office on Drugs and Crime report, cannabis is not growing wild in Odisha. It is cultivated illicitly in the State, as Odisha has put it in the banned plantation category.
Since the Ganja seizures carried out in the State are of commercial category, this shows the cultivation taken up in the State is done purely for narcotics purposes, the report observed.
As per UNODC, meticulous cultivation is needed to obtain its narcotic use. The report further elaborated the meticulous cultivation plan of action.
- For cultivating the plant for the production of ganja, the soil has to be repeatedly ploughed and prepared into ridges one foot high and one foot apart.
- Seeds are sown on bright or sunny days in August.
- Seedlings are usually 6-12 inches high when they are ready for transplanting by the end of September.
- Trimming of the plants begins in November and consists of lopping off the lower branches so as to favour the upward growth of the shoots.
- All weeds are then removed, and when the plants begin to bear flowers, the services of an expert known as a "ganja doctor" (" Paddar" or "Parak-dar ") are requested.
- He goes through the field cutting down all staminate (male) plants, leaving what is colloquially known as "madi" (female) plants.
- This operation is of the greatest importance in preventing seed formation.
- The presence of even a few staminate plants in the field may suffice to damage the entire crop since in that case fertilization of the female plants takes place and most of the flowers run to seed.
- The ganja yielded by such plants is of poor quality and scarcely saleable.
As Rhea Chakraborty's leaked WhatsApp messages revealed that the Ganja quality of Odisha is 'the best ever weed', the details of the UNODC report shows huge money was ploughed into Ganja cultivation in the State. The use of money and expertise men put the glare on the involvement of drug mafias.
Odisha police have earlier gone on record to say that drug syndicates from as far as Kerala plough in money to grow Ganja in Malkangiri - Koraput.
The State police confession and UNODC report then hint at big fishes in the thriving Ganja smuggling trade in Odisha, despite police heat.
Odisha Need To Go TN Way
Since Odisha police have already identified the Ganja smuggling hotspots, they have to launch a crackdown of the TN type. In its drive against the thriving cannabis trade, the TN police had prepared a plan of action listed below.
- Compiled detailed list of transporters and offenders, which includes sellers, bulk handlers and potential buyers.
- Field officials were tasked with the job to pick the active group.
- SHOs asked to keep a tab on the inactive persons and find out their source of income.
- Launched investigation on the people having no income source.
- The police did a hot pursuit in the conduit zones identified in order to bust the Ganja trading network.
The Main Draw
Though Odisha police have been cracking down with big seizures, the missing plot of busting the root of the drug network in the State, like the TN, seems to be the factor behind the thriving cannabis trade.