State to repeat multi-agency crackdown on hemp cultivation

Bhubaneswar: Buoyed by the success of the multi-disciplinary formula to contain illegal hemp cultivation in the State last year, the Excise department on Tuesday decided to repeat the experiment in the ensuing operation.

This was decided at a meeting held under the chairmanship of chief secretary AP Padhy at the secretariat here.

Stating that the department has been able to achieve its target in destroying the plants extensively in the past couple of years, State Excise commissioner Prashant Senapati said co-ordination among the concerned departments will be strengthened in the coming days for greater success.

“We have been successful in the implementation of multi-agency squad comprising Excise, Revenue, Forest and Police to destroy vast patches of illegal hemp cultivation. In the days to come we will continue it,” Senapati said.

Official sources said the government will take the help of satellite imagery to identify locations of cannabis plantations.

“It will help us to plan better and implement our strategies more effectively,” he stated.

SPs and Collectors of nine hemp-cultivating districts, including Boudh, Kandhamal, Rayagada, Gajapati, Malkangiri, Angul, Deogarh and Sambalpur, participated in the meeting through video conferencing.

Official sources said at least 5,04,301 plants on 127 acres were destroyed in Angul while over 26,000 plants on 18 acres were collectively demolished in Sambalpur and Deogarh in the last fiscal.