CUTTACK- With illegal ganja (cannabis) farming shifting to newer areas, now poppy cultivation has turned out to be a major cause of concern for the state police and has compounded their problem.
Poppy cultivation was detected in Angul district for the first time in 2014. Now, the Crime Branch (CB) suspects that it has spread to newer areas. The trend could be dangerous for the society, said police officials. Crime Branch ADG Bijay Kumar Sharma, while addressing a high-level conference on 'Pro-active measures on prevention and destruction of cannabis' on Saturday directed superintendents of police (SPs) and other senior officials to nip poppy cultivation in the bud.
"So far, poppy cultivation has been detected in Angul district only. Before it spreads to other districts, we have to check it completely. The SPs have been directed to conduct massive raids, detect poppy cultivation in their areas and destroy them," said Sharma.
As per CB figures, last year around 1.82 lakh poppy plants grown on three acres of land at Purunakote in Angul district were destroyed. Officials claimed that easy money is the main reason people are attracted towards ganja and poppy cultivation. "
One can earn over Rs 1 crore by growing poppy on just one acre of land. People easily fall into the trap of smugglers as there is much money to be made from the business," said a senior CB official.
Illegal cannabis cultivation in the state has also shifted to newer areas. Earlier, ganja was mainly grown in eight districts - Angul, Deogarh, Sambalpur, Gajapati, Kandhamal, Rayagada, Malkangiri and Boudh - but this year, Nayagarh is the new entrant in this list.
"We have plans to use technology like satellite imagery to identify the interior areas where ganja is grown and the Odisha Space Application Centre will help us in this," said Sharma.
The Times of India/Oct. 31, 2015
Photo: Daily News Hungary
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