Bhubaneswar: Cultivation of cannabis in several hilly areas of the State is on the rise every passing year. The rise can be attributed to demand for the weed among inter-state drug traffickers.
Seizure of huge caches of the contraband worth crores from different parts of the state has led to fears of the narcotic gaining popularity among the youth and more and more getting addicted to it.
On Friday, Central Excise Intelligence officials seized 30 quintals of ganja at Ragadimada under Odagaon police limits in Nayagarh district with arrest of two persons.
Acting on a tip-off, the excise intelligence officials intercepted a pick-up van and seized 75 sacks containing the contraband, value estimated to be around Rs 1 crore.
The huge amount of ganja was stored in an underground area of the house of a woman.
On May 27, the police officials intercepted a truck near Balimela area in Malkangiri district and seized 1,500 kg ganja worth Rs 2.5 crore stuffed in packets.
According to sources, the contraband was being transported to Maharashtra from the district in a salt-laden truck.
It is worth mentioning here that Orkel police had arrested three persons for allegedly smuggling 10 quintals of ganja near Pilakusimi forest in Malkangiri district on May 20.
The police seized the contraband stashed in 66 sacks was being smuggled to Chhattisgarh from Malkangiri. While the trio was arrested by the police team with the contraband, as many as 33 ‘Kawariyas’ managed to flee the spot during the raid.
Similarly, police had seized over 2 quintals of ganja on May 6 from an SUV and arrested three persons in this connection in Koraput district.
Besides, police had seized ganja weighing around two quintals from a car at Seragada toll plaza in Balasore district late night on April 15 and arrested two persons in this connection.
In yet another case, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) officials had seized ganja weighing around 1000 kg from a truck in Bhubaneswar on April 12.
Acting on a tip-off, the officials chased a truck and intercepted the vehicle at Khandagiri Square in Odisha state capital.
During search, the ganja was found hidden under some packets of cloth materials to avoid anyone’s notice.
From its preliminary investigation, Khandagiri Police said that the cannabis was being transported to Bihar from Ichchapuram in Andhra Pradesh.
According to the data of Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), Bhubaneswar, over 2457 acres of cannabis cultivation was destroyed in 2015-16, but it increased to around 4000 acres in 2016-17 fiscal in the State.
“Odisha is one of the largest cannabis producing states in the country. Traders from Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka purchase the contraband from here and transport it to their respective states,” a police officer said.