Crime

Hemp crops worth Rs 10 crore destroyed in Odisha

Koraput:A joint team of police and excise officials has destroyed hemp plantations worth Rs 10 crore in Odisha's Koraput district, police said today.

As part of the administration's efforts to check illegal cultivation of cannabis, a crackdown was launched on several villages in the Maoist-hit district, Additional Superintendent of Police (Koraput) V R Rao said.

"Illegal hemp cultivation is carried out over hundreds of acres in the remote and inaccessible areas of the district. The destroyed plants are just the tip of the iceberg. Our operations will continue," Rao said.

The ganja plants are mostly grown on private lands in these villages, the officer said.

"We have demarcated the lands and stern action will be taken against their owners," he said.

Not just Koraput, hemp is grown on a massive scale in Gajapati, Malkangiri, Kandhamal, Boudh and Sambalpur districts, Rao added.

Most of these areas have strong Maoist presence and the administration has to exercise caution before taking actions here. As a result, the tribals carry out illegal ganja cultivation openly, a resident of Machkund village in the district said.

Cannabis is usually cultivated in these areas between October and February and Maoists often get a hefty cut from the hemp trade for their operations, a source in the police department said. -PTI 

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