Rajahmundry: Sleuths destroy ganja in East Godavari Agency

Rajahmundry: Excise authorities are scouting East Godavari Agency areas to destroy ganja plantations as part of state-wide programme. As the state government wants to curb cultivation and smuggling of ganja, officials from departments including excise, police, forest, revenue, agriculture and others formed into teams and carrying out raids in Agency areas.

Officials found out ganja cultivation in about 20 acre located in five villages of Pathakota  in Y. Ramavaram and destroyed as many as 54,700 ganja plants recently. The area where ganja is being cultivated is having border with Visakhapatnam Agency Sileru. The excise authorities have booked as many as eight cases under Narcotic Drug and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985.

Subsequently, the authorities carried out search operation in Agency mandals including Kunavaram, V.R. Puram, Chintur and Nellipaka based on suspicion that ganja was being cultivated but so far they found nothing. They had also carried out searches at some island villages of the River Godavari. Sources say that tribals mainly from Odisha take up cultivation of ganja on hill slopes. Initially, they clear forest vegetation by adopting slash and burn method and clear the area and then cultivate ganja. The area they select for ganja cultivation is so strategic that no official can dare to reach it for the reason that it will be highly inaccessible. The tribals set up make-shift accommodation on hilly slopes and live there by raising ganja. After clearing the vegetation on the ground, they plough it and make it ready for cultivation. They sow ganja seeds and wait for five months. The crop grows to a height ranging from six feet to seven feet and become ready for harvest. The tribals usually harvest the crop during December and January. The harvested crop will be dried up for some time and later it will be sold at a rate based on demand and supply. A kilogram of ganja is expected to fetch Rs 7,000.

East Godavari excise deputy commissioner B. Arun Rao said, “Our teams have been carrying out intense search in interior Agency areas to find and destroy ganja plantations. We will continue our exercise until we make the district free of ganja. We will initiate stern action against those who cultivate ganja and appeal to people to alert us if they get any information on ganja cultivation.”

Let's block ads! (Why?)