Due to the spike in the subjection of cannabis along with the destruction of hemp cultivation in several districts in Odisha by the enforcement agency, the government has planned to use remote sensing technologies, satellite imagery, and drones to geographically locate illegal plantations.
A high-level meeting chaired by chief secretary SC Mohapatra was called to take such an important decision. Also, it was decided that the excise and police department will also supervise enforcement activity to protect hemp farming in the state region and discard the illegal plantation before they could harvest it with the help of the latest technology.
The excise and state police department collaborated to destroy over 22,217 acres of land in almost ten districts in the year 2020-21, which is contradictory to 9,473 acres of land in the year 2018-19.
Collectors are reviewing the existing landscape district-wise in the presence of the chief secretary home Sanjay Chopra and DGP Abhay. The chief secretary also instructed them to highlight the villages and regions where illegal hemp cultivation is done by local intelligence gathering.
Furthermore, the chief secretary was also instructed to spot the land records of the private person on whose land the hemp is cultivated and also initiate proceedings against them strictly under the provisions of the NDPS act.
The collectors are instructed to create a district-level action plan to stop such illegal practices and ways of earning by targeted alternative livelihood interventions.
The field level officers from different departments are also directed to supervise the villages frequently and take follow-up on their livelihood activities with wage earners and farmers.
Odisha is among the leading cannabis-producing states in India, while some regions in the state, including Nayagarh, Malkangiri, Gajapati, Rayagada, Sambalpur, Deogarh, Boudh, and Kandhamal, are the epicenter of hemp cultivation. Malkangiri is still the most affected region. The administration has planned a drive to recognize the tribal poor families whose livelihoods are based on such trade activities and also offer them alternative livelihood opportunities under the Odisha Livelihood Mission, MGNREGS, National Livelihood Mission, high return cash crop, goatery, poultry, integrity, and other similar schemes.
“In continuation of the special drive against ganja cultivation, a team of Mudulipada police station has destroyed hemp plants cultivated in about 65 acres of land in the Badadural area. We will continue our drive by spreading out to cultivation areas in other parts of the district,” said Prahlad Sahai Meena, Malkangiri Superintendent of Police.
Hemp cultivation has become an alternative source of income. The poor people relying on forest side activities are often indulged by middlemen and agents of drug smuggling rackets in illegal practices. Odisha is a hub to a different group of 62 Scheduled Tribe communities and 13 PVTGs.