Ganja, new cash crop for Maoists in Odisha

Bhubaneswar: It seems that Maoists are coming up with new ideas and methods to smuggle ganja from Malkangiri to other parts of the country.

Concerns are now being expressed after the Directorate of Revenue of Intelligence (DRI) seized Ganja worth Rs 10 crore while being transported from Malkangiri to Punjab via Chhattisgarh’s Raipur on Sunday.

Surprisingly, the consignment was being smuggled in a truck ladden with coconuts.

It is suspected that a major cartel is behind the ganja smuggling which is being carried out with assistance and support of Maoists in Odisha.

The rebels are carrying out ganja cultivation in remote and inaccessible parts of Malkangiri district as it is one of the major sources of funds to operate their base.

“As the profit margin is high in such illicit narcotics trade, many are attracted towards the business,” said Joint Director, Revenue Intelligence Directorate, GK Pati.

Not only Malkangiri, ganja cultivation has assumed serious proportions in 10 districts of Odisha including Kandhamal, Boudh, Rayagada and Koraput.

Experts beleive that in a bid to root out left wing extremism from the State, a coordinate approach and crackdown on such illicit narcotics trade, which is a major source of their funding, is the need of the hour.

“Hemp cultivation is one of the main source of naxal funding and special drives against such activities needs to be intensified,” said former Police DG, Sanjeev Marik.

Police DG RP Sharma on the other hand informed that hemp plantation in nearly 4,500 acres of land was destroyed in Odisha this year. Similarly, such operations will be intensified in coming days.

Earlier, Justice Pasayat, vice-chairman of Special Investigation Team (SIT) on black money had also expressed concern over the fact that Maoists have amassed black money from such illegal narcotics trade.