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Govt to act tough on Cannabis plantation in Orissa
A team of police and excise officials, recently, destroyed nearly 300 tonnes of cannabis plants, worth more than Rs 50 crore, cultivated in 58 villages in Orissa. It has been found that farmers are using dense forests to grow hemp all over the state
ORISSA, PARTICULARLY southern part of Orissa has emerged as a major supplier of hemp to the outside world during the recent times. Further, the number of drug addicts in Orissa is also growing. The most common drugs of abuse are ganja,opium and heroin. The discovery of vast ganja plantations in the dense forests areas under Phiringia blocks of Kandhmal district and Kudmulgumma block of tribal dominated Malkangiri district of Orissa comes as a clinching proof that hemp cultivation has been going on in several areas of southern and western Orissa.

What is worrisome is that cannabis, notwithstanding the huge illegal tag that it carries, seems to be turning into a regular cash crop for the people residing in the inaccessible, remote areas, hills and forests of southern and western Orissa where agricultural facilities are scare.

These people find ganja cultivation not only quiet remunerative but also easy, notwithstanding irrespective of risks involved. Despite the state government’s ban on cannabis, the hemp cultivation is successfully spreading it’s tentacles to Malkangiri, Rayagada,Gajpati, Koraput and Kandhmal districts of Orissa.

However, the official sources claim that a joint team of police and excise personnel recently destroyed nearly 300 tonnes of cannabis plants, worth more than Rs 50 crore, clandestinely cultivated in 20 sq km area in 58 villages of three panchyats of the Phiringia block in Orissa’s Kandhmal district. Taking advantage of the inaccessible areas in dense forests, some rapacious traders from Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh use the non-suspecting local tribals for hemp cultivation while extending financial assistance to them.

The value of the cannabis discovered in Malkangiri and Kandhamal districts till recently would be more than Rs 200 crore in the international market. In the wake of the discovery of such a huge quantity of hemp in both the districts, officials in excise and police department are admitting for the first time that ganja plantations continue to flourish in the hilly and remote areas of southern Orissa. The echoes of the raids on the hemp farm in Kandhamal districts were heard in the Orissa Assembly, where opposition members alleged that the illegal crop was being raised with the knowledge of a minister.

What, however, sets Kandhamal and Malkangiri seizure apart from others is the extent, on which the farming was being undertaken and the kind of people who have been found involved. The arrest of two local Sarapanchs, apparently for patronising ganja cultivation in Kandhamal area gives a clear message to the Orissa government that the issue needs a deeper probe.

Since the whip of cannabis is easy to catch, police and excise officials can easily get on the trail of the growers. Then what makes the local poor gullible tribals to take up the hemp cultivation on such a large scale and from where they get money for investment. The fact, which sounds convincing is the involvement of many high profiles and traders neighbouring from Andra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh who are reportedly not only extending all sorts of financial assistance to the poor tribals but also protecting the ganja growers and patronising the farming.

The use of fertilizers and luxuriant growth of the plants spreading over large areas certainly caught the authorities napping. While the Orissa government has already banned the hemp cultivation, alarm bells started ringing after the excise and police authorities stumbled upon huge areas devoted to ganja farming in Kandhmal and Malkangiri districts.

The problem is now not just confined to southern Orissa but it spread it’s tentacles to coastal districts like Angul where ganja cultivation has become as a boon for the poachers operating in the district. Deer and other kindred animals have been falling into their trap after getting high on ganja leaves. Media reports say that the lack of cohesion between the excise and forest officials has resulted in mushrooming of mafia activities in the reserved forest areas of the district.

Despite the ban, cannabis cultivation is spreading like wildfire in southern, western and some parts of coastal Orissa and the reasons are manifold. Taking advantage of the inaccessible areas in dense forests, some rapacious traders from the state and outside, using the non-suspecting local tribals for hemp cultivation while investing a small amount but getting 50 times more tempts the farmers.

According to media reports that the plant grown on about half an acre is able to fetch above Rs 50,000, which is much better than other form of agricultural activities. It is true that the tribals residing in the remote, inaccessible and hilly areas of southern Orissa are compelled to go for hemp cultivation as agricultural facilities are scare there.

Even the excise intelligence and enforcement bureau sources also admitted the fact saying had the government extended all necessary help to go for other cultivations like fruit bearing trees to these tribals, such a situation could not arise. The dependence of the local people on this lethal crop for earning their livelihoods can be gauged from the fact that many burst into tears with a few wailing openly when the raiding team uprooted the plants and burnt them in Gajpati, Kandhmal and Malkangiri districts.

Unless the government focus on supply reduction by flexing it’s enforcement muscles on the hemp cultivation, it cannot be checked successfully. Ironically, the state government has not been able to take advantage of a scheme launched by the ministry of home affairs, under which states are provided financial assistance to strengthen enforcement capabilities for illicit traffic in narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances.

Besides, the state government should promote non-enforcement activities like providing alternative agricultural activities in the hilly areas where agricultural facilities are scare. In fact, the police, excise and forest officials should work in a coordinated manner to make the raids more effective. As the drug abuse has already become a socio-economic problem with potential to affect future generation adversely, it is therefore necessary to strengthen the state enforcement agencies.
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well, let us put things into perspective. tribal people are growing cannabis for whatever reason. it is the right of the people of any land to grow whatever they see the need for that will help them in anyway. cannabis has been a divine plant since time immemorial, especially for india it is a shame to sing along the American song pushed upon by united nations and world bank and international monitary fund that cannabis is a lethal (deadly) plant and it is potrayed by the media (television, news media, news papers etc) as the most dangerous drug. Indians were the most intelligent people a few hundread years ago when they had their own thoughts and their own way of doing things. it is a sad thing to see indian people lose their ability to think what is best and what is practical and make informed decisions and sing and dance for the rest of the world like the circus animals. remember that cannabis has been used as medicine for many conditions over many many thousands of years all over the world, also remember that it is used in Ayurveda and it is the favourite plant of lord shiv. so what, tribal people are trying to make a living by cultivating cannabis, and all that government in any state is there to destroy it. one important thing we should pay attention to is that governments seems to only prohibit, restrict, and impede things and not help anyone. this kind of ignorance seem to have grown so rampant that people can not even think straight with a reason. governments are not there to help tribal people with their needs. let us be sincere with ourselves and see that governments only want your votes during elections so that they can make money during their tenure of ruling. the governments are not there when people need them really. governemnts come in to rob tribals of their lands whenever there is some valuble mineral or some other product of commercial viability is found in tribal land. well, Indians better pull their heads out of American asses and think straight with sound intelligence. and Indians better look at the tribals with more reverence because eventhough they live in forests and remote areas, they are our forefathers and our family. we as people should be doing more service to them in helping with their needs and if they want to preserve their way of life , then they should be respected to do so. Governments should stop telling people what they can or can not grow for their needs, and those people in exise departments, police departments better get their information straight instead being the government sheep in thinking that they are helping some imaginary people by destroying tribal people's crops and hardwork. let us be sincere, a police officer or exise officer is product of corrupt education, even the indian government is a cheap prostitute on the world stage. INDIANS SHOULD WAKE FROM THIS STUPOROUS STATE AND LOOK AROUND IN WHAT IS GOING ON IN THIS WORLD. THEY SHOULD GET THEIR INFORMATION NOT JUST FROM NEWS / INFORMATION IN INDIA ONLY, BUT SHOULD EXTEND INTO INFORMATION GATHERING FROM INDEPENDANT INTERNATIONAL SOURCES ALSO TO GET better picture of the situation. Governments should serve people, not people serving the government. Governments should stay out of people's business and people's lives.
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