Visakhapatnam: As a first step to root out ganja cultivation at few pockets in Vizag Agency, the special teams comprising prohibition and excise, police, revenue and forest has devised an innovative strategy.
Public address system put atop jeeps have been blaring with threats of cancellation of ration cards and lands if the farmers were found cultivating or supporting the ganja smugglers in Vizag Agency.
The threats are veiled in a Telugu song which carries the message stating that a 20-year jail term would destroy their lives.
Sources said that majority of the ganja growers have ignored the warnings of the enforcement officials. The department of prohibition and excise devised two pronged strategies to control the hemp cultivation and harvest.
Threat of cancellation of welfare measures, ration cards and the other mass destruction of ganja plants in the Agency apart that a pilot project which was discussed in a meeting chaired by HRD minister Ganta Srinivasa Rao on September 2,’’ said assistant commissioner of excise and prohibition (enforcement) S.V.V.N. Babji Rao.
Admitting that the root out of ganja cultivation is not an easy task for the enforcement wing, Babji Rao that a four-day drive began from Friday under which 10 villages have been selected for the destruction of the standing crop.
Mr Babji Rao said that over four teams have been formed with each having 50 members drawn from excise department, armed reserved police and revenue staff.
Laborers were also engaged to destroy the plants, Rao said.
On Friday, the weed was destroyed 34 acres under G Madugula and Hukumpeta mandals in Vizag Agency and the raids will continue in the coming three days.
Sources said that the enforcement officials have started distributing brochures at public places and weekly shandies to create awareness among the tribals and youth.
The special drive and campaigning through public address system became a hot topic for discussion.
However, the enforcement officials have been facing criticism for targeting the ganja growers only by leaving the big sharks in the trade....