Maoists involved in hemp cultivation in Odisha: DGP

Bhubaneswar, Nov 15: Odisha Police chief Sanjeev Marik Friday said Maoists are actively involved in hemp and cannabis cultivation in the state's rebel infested districts.

"Hemp cultivation is going on in the areas where Maoists are active. The ultras, who are opposing development work, are not opposed to hemp cultivation in these areas," said the director general of police (DGP).

"It shows that they are encouraging directly and indirectly hemp cultivation in rebel infested forest areas," Marik told reporters after a review meeting in Cuttack.

He said there is need for a coordinated effort to curb such activities.

"We are exploring every possibility to decrease the hemp cultivation in inaccessible and hilly areas where cannabis is being grown," Marik said.

The state government has identified eight districts -- Boudh, Kandhamal, Rayagada, Gajapati, Malkangiri, Angul, Deogarh and Sambalpur - where cannabis cultivation is going on.

The Odisha DGP said the administration has decided to intensify operations against illegal ganja cultivation while identifying the people involved in its smuggling.

The meeting also asked eight district police chiefs to destroy 3,000 acres of hemp cultivation in the Maoist-affected areas by next year.

The meeting was attended by the principal secretary and other top officials of the excise department, crime branch ADG and the police chiefs of eight districts.

According to police sources, the cultivation of ganja in the interior areas of Sambalpur and Malkangiri districts was being patronised by Maoists who find it an easy source of income to fund their activities.

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

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