Ganja: Tribals’ easy way to riches

Ganja: Tribals’ easy way to riches
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Highlights

Once languishing in poverty and despair, the tribal youth in Agency are no more envious of people flashing expensive vehicles, mobile phones and apparel. They now have everything they yearned in their lives as teenagers. The magic weed that hallucinates on consumption has changed their lives.

Chintapalle: Once languishing in poverty and despair, the tribal youth in Agency are no more envious of people flashing expensive vehicles, mobile phones and apparel. They now have everything they yearned in their lives as teenagers. The magic weed that hallucinates on consumption has changed their lives.

A brief visit to weekly shandy on Wednesday at Chintapalle gave a vivid picture of what ganja smuggling, that has reached alarming proportions over the years and transformed the hamlets which are still not communicable to outside world. More than 50 motorcycles of each costing no less than a lakh rupees zip zapped the market place.

Youths riding doubles and triples were in possession of expensive android phones, branded jackets and other accessories they can lay their hands on. They consume alcohol and ride in the picturesque valley enjoying the new life that has fallen from heavens.

“There are more than 50 batches each comprising five members operating for smugglers coming from different places. They communicate with each other well like professionals and complete their operations as directed by smugglers.

If they can carry 10 kg of ganja to the road point or any other safe zone, they are paid of Rs 3,000 per each kg,’’ said a senior journalist who owns a business establishment in Chintapalle village.Talking to this correspondent, he said if caught and sent to jail, he would return within three months and resume his operations.

A representative of a noted NGO said the youth are no more looking for employment or doing business. This has become their way of life. Their villages which are still cut off from panchayats too prospered. A farmer gave his one-acre land on lease for three months crop to farmers coming from Tamil Nadu and charges Rs lakh.

The crop yields two tonnes of ganja. The crop is extensively cultivated under GK Veedhi, Darakonda, Galikonda, Chintapalle, Balapam and Korukonda panchayats. The crop never fails and hundred per cent depend on rainwater.

“Every village has farmers from Tamil Nadu who are mostly disguised as grocers. Maoists and police chase them away but still return,’’ said a beat constable at the shandy. The illegal trade, now legitimate in the eyes of locals, has propelled economic growth in a small way.

TV sets and dish antennas are being sold to remote villages which have money now. “We are selling more than 20 dish antennas every month and most buyers are from remote villages. They have trained themselves in mechanism so that not many people visit their villages to peep into their wellbeing,’’ said Mani Ratnam from Tamil Nadu who opened his dish antenna dealership here last year.

“What we thought to be a temporary phenomenon has become a way of life for scores of tribals who are now completely depending on trade. They don’t want to cultivate rajma and maize which often failed them,’’ said P Erikulu, Sub-Inspector of Prohibition and Excise, Paderu divisional headquarters, while sitting on a heap of ganja that forms the inventory.

The station has stored 20 tonnes of ganja and the lock up is fully packed with the weed. The dry ganja is strewn all over the station and forms a carpet under the feet of SI which indicates the volume of trade.

By KMP Patnaik

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