Vishakhapatanam: The Agency police have decided to use sniffer dogs and drones to curb smuggling of ganja which has reached alarming proportions over the last few years.
A high-level meeting was held in Visakhapatnam for the entire range covering Srikakulam, Visakhapatnam and Vizianagaram on the directions of the DGP on Sunday and several strategies were discussed in the meeting on destroying the crops and curbing the smuggling in all directions.
The Vizag range DIG L.K.V. Ranga Rao told this correspondent that they had taken it very seriously after Visakhapatnam turned out to be a place where high quality ganja is harvested and smuggled to major cities in India including Hyderabad.
“Apart from smugglers, we are identifying outsiders who come to the Agency on the pretext of opening some shops and indulge in harvesting and smuggling of ganja,” Ranga Rao said.
He said sniffer dogs would deter people from carrying ganja and with the help of drones, the extent of harvest could be identified apart from tracking the foot soldiers who carry the weed to different points of collection.
The weed is grown in 10,000 acres in Andhra Orissa Border (AOB), an area dominated by outlawed Maoists, and smugglers use two main routes to smuggle dry ganja. The major route is Chintapalli-Narsipatnam and the other is KD Peta to Rajamahendravaram. High end SUVs are used to carry the weed from these points to various cities in India.
Students and school dropouts are being used as pilots of these vehicles for which they are paid Rs 5,000 per trip.
Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy has also taken up the issue seriously and asked the special enforcement bureau officials in a recent meeting to stop harvesting and smuggling of ganja and take stringent action against the culprits.
Vizag rural police seized 31,648 kgs of ganja worth Rs 6 crore in 2017, around 16,000 kgs worth Rs 3.2 crore in 2018, 21,970 kgs worth Rs 4.19 crore in 2019 and 23,475 kgs worth Rs 5 crore in 2020.
“We have registered PD Act against 17 smugglers and destroyed over 82,400 kgs (82 tonnes) of dry ganja seized by the police in the presence of Drug Disposal Committee at Balighattam dumping yard in Narsipatnam of Vizag district in December last year,” the DIG said.
Meanwhile, the Hyderabad police stepped up their vigilance and are trying to grab the kingpins distributing cannabis packets in the streets.
Deputy Commissioner of Police, West Zone, AR Srinivasa Rao, told this correspondent on Sunday that they were locating the sources from where the contraband was originating.
“Much of the ganja is coming from Andhra Pradesh and Odisha and landing in Hyderabad through various routes. We are coordinating with all law enforcing agencies to put the menace to an end,” Srinivasa Rao said....