Visakhapatnam: The massive decline in production of ganja in Idukki Valley in Kerala and many parts of Tamil Nadu has pushed the illegal cultivation of ganja to Vizag Agency and Andhra Odisha Border (AOB). Apart from the Silavathi variety, Rajahamsa and Taslapatri varieties of weed are also being grown in the region.
Excise and police officials say that Silavathi grown in Vizag region is considered as the best in the country and THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) quantity is higher than what is grown in Himachal Pradesh. Ganja is the hottest-selling cash crop in the interior parts of the Vizag region and AOB and the Narcotic experts are pondering to why ganja grown in Vizag agency tracks attracting thousands of people from all over the country. Though there is no accurate estimate of how many acres of land in the hilly terrain is under ganja cultivation, the excise department’s rough estimate is around 10,000 acres.
Assistant commissioner of excise and prohibition (enforcement) S.V.V.N. Babji Rao said that cultivation of the weed in Idukki Valley in Kerala and Tamil Nadu has stop-ped due to strict enforcement with much coordination among various trades. Now the traders from these two states are making a beeline to the agency and have been encouraging the locals to grow the hemp.
Vizag agency and AOB region grows three varieties of weed, Silavathi, Rajahamsa and Taslapa-tri, but demand for the Silavathi variety is high in metro cities. Sources said that the yield per acre is around 1,000 to 1,200kg and the rate paid to the farmers is around Rs 3,000 per kg. Sources in excise and police department said that the ganja trade in Vizag Agency and AOB has been getting further murkier and seems to be difficult to curb the illegal trade.
Though the Vizag rural cops and excise officials have been tasting success in the seizure of the contraband and arrest of smugglers to a large ext-ent for the past few years, the officials say that rooting out ganja cultivation is still a tough task....