Bhubaneswar, Dec 2:
The Odisha government has destroyed cannabis worth Rs.2,774.20 crore in the last five years, Excise Minister Damodar Rout told the state assembly on Wednesday.
In a written reply to a question of Congress legislator Taraprasad Bahinipati, Rout said the excise department officials have destroyed ganja (cannabis) cultivation worth Rs.2,774.20 crore from 2010-11 to 2014-15.
While 24,38,801 cannabis plants, having value of Rs.243.88 crore, were destroyed in 2010-11, the officials destroyed 21,65,254 plants worth Rs.216.52 crore in 2011-12, said the minister.
Besides, the excise department destroyed cannabis plants worth Rs.457.57 crore in 2012-13, Rs.905.45 crore in 2013-14 and Rs.950.73 crore in 2014-15, the minister added.
The government has also seized about 43,250 kg of cannabis in the last five years.
The minister, however, said the department officials failed to arrest all the people involved in the cultivation since it was carried out in hilly terrain areas.
Even though the police and excise department have been destroying the illegal cultivation from time to time, this is yet to be wiped out as cannabis is being grown in dense hilly areas, where police face difficulties in destroying the crops.
Traders from neighbouring states like Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal and Chhattisgarh are encouraging the farmers to cultivate cannabis, which fetches better returns than paddy, said sources. (IANS)