Visakhapatnam: Cannabis worth Rs 260 cr set on fire

D Gautam Sawang

D Gautam Sawang


More than 2 lakh kgs of cannabis, approximately worth Rs 260 crore, were destroyed at Koduru village in Anakapalle mandal in Visakhapatnam on Saturday.

Visakhapatnam: More than 2 lakh kgs of cannabis, approximately worth Rs 260 crore, were destroyed at Koduru village in Anakapalle mandal in Visakhapatnam on Saturday.

Terming it as a 'historic occasion', Director-General of Police D Gautam Sawang said this is probably the first-of-its-kind cannabis destruction programme taken up in the country on such a massive scale. The destruction programme was carried out by the Drug Disposal Committee in the presence of the Director-General of Police, SEB, State police and Narcotic Control Bureau. The cannabis collected for the past one year was seized from various police station limits, including Andhra-Odisha Border, Visakhapatnam Agency areas, Vizianagaram, Srikakulam and East Godavari districts.

As a part of the 'Operation Parivartana', ganja grown in 7,552 acres in 313 hamlets worth Rs 9,251 crore were destroyed. They were identified in the recent harvesting season (November to January) and destroyed. "Tribals themselves destroyed ganja plantations in 400 acres," the state police chief mentioned.

DGP Sawang said that 406 teams have been working relentlessly to curb ganja cultivation and transportation. With the support of technology such as drones and satellite mapping, the DGP mentioned that the areas of ganja cultivation were identified.

Denying the charges made by some political parties that the police are negligent in checking ganja cultivation and smuggling, the DGP said the leaders were making such remarks without any proper information.

Under the Operation Parivartana programme, over 1,500 persons were taken into custody in Visakhapatnam district and over 47,987 kg of ganja and 314 vehicles were seized so far, the DGP shared and added that the police were keen on breaking the transit network.

Similarly, over 1,300 cases were registered in four districts. About the steps being taken for ending the illegal trade, he said, 120 inter-state check posts were set up.

Observing that the ganja cultivation was being carried out in several parts of AOB for over decades, DGP Sawang reiterated that the gangs from different states have been indulging in cultivation in AOB.

Giving details, the DGP said that ganja was being cultivated in 11 mandals in Andhra Pradesh and 23 districts in Odisha. He accused Maoists of extending support to ganja smugglers.

On the measures being initiated to keep the tribals away from the illegal trade, he said as many as 1,963 awareness programmes, including 93 rallies were organised so far. Tribals were being educated about alternative crops, he added. To bring awareness among the tribal youths and encourage them to look for alternative crops, the district police department had conducted close to 2,000 awareness programmes, the DGP emphasised.

Activity of Naxalites was on the wane in the Agency areas because of the government policies and programmes initiated by the police, Sawang stressed.

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