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Rashmi Ranjan

Boudh: The crackdown on the cultivation and supply of illegal cannabis gathered steam as the Boudh police destroyed Ganja (cannabis) cultivations worth Rs 80 lakh spread over an area of 80 acres here in the district on Thursday.

Acting on a tip-off, the police carried out multiple raids at several places under Baunsuni police station and destroyed the cannabis cultivation at Udabilaka forest near Banadurga temple. The officials uprooted the fully grown cannabis plants and set those on fire.

The Superintendent of Police (SP) Boudh V Raghunath Rao said the drive will continue in phased manner in regular intervals.

On November 8, a joint team of Kandhamal police and Excise officials had destroyed illegal ganja cultivation on several acres of lands in different forest areas of Dudduki panchayat under Sadar police limits in the district.

The police and excise sleuths were tipped off about illegal cultivation following which a joint team was set up to conduct crackdown in the area.

The raiding officials had found the hemp cultivated on about 155 acres of forest land. They destroyed the plants by setting the field on fire.

The estimated cost of the destroyed cannabis was stated to be around Rs 1.55 crore.

As many as 50 local labourers and two platoons of police forces were engaged in the exercise.

Sources said cannabis cultivation is going on in a massive scale in the hilly areas of Kandhamal and other neighbouring districts due to its increasing demand with inter-state drug-traffickers.

Last year, Odisha government had barred farmers from growing ganja.

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