Maoists encourage hemp cultivation: DGP

Bhubaneswar: Setting a target of demolishing hemp cultivation on about 3,000 acres of land in the next one year, Odisha police today said Left-Wing Extremists (LEW) are encouraging such illegal activities in the forested areas of the state.

“The police along with excise and forest department officials will conduct joint raids on such illegal ganja cultivation which is going on in dense forests. Maoists are encouraging such cultivation and directly or indirectly linked with the activities,” DGP, Sanjeev Marik, said after attending a meeting held at Crime Branch headquarters in Cuttack.

Marik said the money generated from the hemp cultivation is being used in illegal activities.

The meeting was attended by the Principal Secretary of excise department, Crime Branch ADG, top officials of excise department and SPs of eight hemp cultivated districts including Boudh, Kandhamal, Rayagada, Gajapati, Malkangiri, Angul, Deogarh and Sambalpur.

It was decided in the meeting that the state by invoking Section 46 of Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act will act tough against those land owners who allow cultivation of cannabis and poppy and fail to inform Police, Excise or Forest authorities regarding such cultivation.

Marik said the state government would conduct special drive against illegal cultivation of cannabis in eight districts with a target to destroy plants costing about Rs 1,800 crore during this financial year.

He informed that the cost of each hemp plant is Rs 1000.

During 2013-14, the state government was able to destroy a total 90,54,855 cannabis plants valued at Rs 905 crore, officials said, adding, the plan was to double the target in 2014-15.

As 26 police station areas have been identified as places where massive cannabis cultivation is going on, the SPs of these districts have been asked to prepare Action Plan, Crime Branch additional director general (ADG) B K Sharma said.