VISAKHAPATNAM: The Andhra Pradesh police on Saturday said they destroyed two lakh kgs of ganja worth over Rs 300 crore on Saturday. The narcotics was seized in the last couple of years in the coastal districts of the State.
AP Director General of Police Gautam Sawang Gautam Sawang lit the pile of the seized ganja under the auspices of the Drug Disposal Committee in Kodur, at Anakapalli constituency. Additional DG (L&B) Ravi Shankar Ayyanar, Additional DG (Gray Hounds) RK Meena, SEB Director Vineet Brijlal, IG Rangarao and others were present on the occasion.
DGP Gautam Sawang said the outlawed Maoists were encouraging ganja cultivation which was on in 23 districts in Odisha and 11 mandals in the Visakhapatnam district. He said as part of Operation Parivarthan, 406 special police teams destroyed ganja plantations in 313 villages in the 11 mandals. Several groups from various States have been involved in the cultivation of ganja and illegal transportation of the narcotic on the Andhra-Odisha border, he said.
More than 1,500 people have been arrested for cultivating the plant and booked 577 cases. He said the police have seized 314 vehicles involved in the ganja-smuggling. Cannabis smugglers are coming like tourists from the northern states. Of the 1,500 arrested, 154 were smugglers from Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, and Chhattisgarh.
Cannabis was being cultivated on the Andhra-Odisha border for decades. The Maoists and the Ganja cultivators are making money by cultivating cannabis by threatening tribals. However, as part of Operation Parivarthan, the government focused on the transportation and cultivation of cannabis and large quantities of cannabis were seized in coordination with narcotics, intelligence and other government departments.
In a total of 577 cases, 1500 people were arrested by the police. Police also destroyed a total of 7,552 acres of cannabis with the support of 406 special teams in 313 suburban villages in 11 zones of the agency area. The value of cannabis is estimated at Rs 9,251.32 crore. While the SEB and peacekeeping forces destroyed 7,152 acres of cannabis plantations, up to 400 acres were destroyed by the tribal people of the respective villages. ADRIN imagery, state-of-the-art equipment, drones, satellite phones, and artificial intelligence-based satellite image processing was used to detect marijuana cultivation.
While the cannabis cultivation in the border tribal villages continues to be destroyed on a large scale the police are conducting searches and surprise checks in the roads where the cannabis is being transported.
A major change in the tribals with the village secretariat system: Through Operation Parivartham, the people in the tribal villages and the youth are beginning to mend their ways and working towards development. The village secretariat system set up by the government has become crucial for change in the tribal youth. The government is also encouraging tribals who depend on cannabis to grow coffee, ginger, sugarcane, strawberries, and pepper as an alternative. We are involving village secretariat employees and tribal youth as volunteers, and trying to create awareness and inform the public and thereby making them aware of the dangers of cannabis cultivation, the DGP stated in an interview with Sakshi.
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