Hyderabad: Ganja (marijuana) cultivation is quickly turning into ‘opium’ for farmers who are lured by the quick money the sale of narcotics brings.
Despite the government's warnings to farmers not to grow ganja, cultivation has surged in some districts' interior areas like Asifabad, Bhadradri, Mancherial, Bhupalpally, Hanumakonda and Adilabad. Officials said the Covid-19 induced lockdown had led to an upsurge in ganja cultivation.
Due to a lack of coordination among police, revenue, and agriculture department officials, the police have been unable to stop ganja cultivation.
During a video conference, senior officials instructed all district police officers to be vigilant on ganja cultivation. Consequently, the district police have obtained reports from each village and they were shocked to learn that people in rural areas, particularly hilly tracts, heavily depended on ganja cultivation.
Under the Rythu Bandhu scheme, the government offers each farmer a financial incentive of `10,000 per acre each year towards crop investment. The government has sent out circulars to revenue and agricultural officials instructing them to find landowners and farmers engaging in ganja cultivation and stop their government incentives like Rythu Bandhu.
The Suryapet police recently arrested nine people at various locations, including the police limits of Munagala, Palakaveedu, and Chilukuru and seized 300 kg of marijuana worth more than `30 lakh from them. The police said they had that suggested that people from other states transported marijuana, and they purportedly have information that people were involved in growing marijuana.
"When police raid ganja plantations, the revenue authorities fail to hold panchanama with witnesses over the seized evidence. When revenue officials attend the panchanamas, there are disputes and confusion over the origin of ganja saplings. The agricultural department staff often failed to authenticate the seized items,” said a senior police officer of the Mancherial district....