Excise Dept sanctions Rs 30 lakh to Odisha STF for destroying cannabis plantation

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Bhubaneswar: In a significant move, the Excise department has sanctioned Rs 30 lakh to Special Task Force (STF) of Odisha Crime Branch for destroying plantation of cannabis on large areas of land across the state.

The amount was sanctioned after a multi-departmental meeting of Excise Department, STF, Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), that was held a few days back to discuss about destruction of cannabis cultivation across the State.

“The amount has been sanctioned to STF IG, who along with excise sleuths, forest department officers, will jointly conduct the operation to destroy cultivation of cannabis in the State,” Crime Branch ADG Santosh Kumar Upadhyay said.

“I have directed the SPs and DIGs of the districts where cannabis cultivation is rampant to undertake a joint operation,” he said adding that the joint operation will be conducted in Angul, Rayagada, Boudh, Deogarh, Kandhamal and Malkangiri besides a few other districts.

There has been a rapid increase in cannabis cultivation in hilly areas of the State as demand for the weed among inter-state drug traffickers has risen considerably, said sources. According to the data of Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), Bhubaneswar, over 2457 acres of cannabis cultivation was destroyed in 2015-16 but that could not stop illegal practice as around cannabis on nearly 4000 acres was destroyed in 2016-17.

About 2400 acres of cannabis cultivation in Kandhamal district, 700 acres in Rayagada district, 300 acres in Gajapati district, 100 acres in Malkangiri district, was destroyed in the 2016-17,” a NCB officer said.

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