Ganja cultivation on the rise in Orissa

Bhubaneswar: Despite regular raids by the police, illegal cultivation of ganja (cannabis) has been on rise in the state over the years, official sources said.

While the police destroyed cannabis plantation over 1132 acre of land in eight districts in 2009-10, it found locals taking up such illegal cultivation over 2035 acre of land in 2010-11, they said.

"Destruction of ganja cultivation during crop season of 2008-09 and 2007-08 were 741.4 acre and 802 acre respectively," Inspector General of Police (IGP) of Crime Branch Abhaya said.

The police along with excise department officials destroyed such illegal cultivation in the districts of Sambalpur, Angul, Malkangiri, Deogarh, Boudh, Rayagada, Kandhamal and Gajapati, he said adding that highest 850 acre of land were detected undertaking ganja cultivation in Sambalpur district.

While illegal ganja cultivation was being done in inaccessible and hilly areas dominated by Maoists, the miscreants also use fertile and irrigated land in the districts like Angul and Sambalpur.

As one kg of ganja leaves fetch Rs 400, miscreants took its cultivation as a easy way to earn fast money, said a senior excise department official adding that the trade was prevalent in many southern and western Orissa districts.