Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Cuttack, Nov 14:
Director General of Police (DGP) of Odisha Sanjeev Marik today said that Maoists are actively involved in illegal hemp and cannabis cultivation in the state’s rebel infested districts.
Briefing newsmen after a review meeting here, he said hemp cultivation is rampant in the interior areas of the state.
While the Maoists are opposing developmental work in these areas, they are not opposed to hemp cultivation, which shows that they are directly or indircetly encouraging hemp cultivation in the forest areas,” he added.
Stating that there is need for a coordinated effort to curb such activities, he said efforts were on to curb hemp cultivation in the inaccessible and hilly areas where the banned stuff is being grown.
The state government has identified Boudh, Kandhamal, Rayagada, Gajapati, Malkangiri, Angul, Deogarh and Sambalpuras the eight districts where massive hemp cultivation is going on.
Marik also informed that the cultivation of ganja in the interior areas of Sambalpur and Malkangiri districts is being patronised by the Maoists, who find it an easy source of income to fund their illegal activities.
He said the meeting decided to intensity operations against illegal ganja cultivation and take stern action under Section 46 of Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act against land owners, who allow cultivation of cannabis and poppy and fail to inform Police, Excise or Forest authorities regarding such cultivation.
Taking to reporters, Crime Branch ADG BK Sharma said as 26 police station areas have been identified as places where massive cannabis cultivation is going on, the SPs of these eight districts have been asked to prepare action plan.
The meeting directed the SPs of these eight Maoist-hit districts to destroy 3000 acres of hemp cultivation by next year.
Among others, principal secretary, Excise, senior Excise officials and SPs of eight districts were present at the meeting.