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Opinion

More than 3.5 tons of cannabis recovered in Odisha, Chhattisgarh

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Police and detectives from the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) seized more than 3.5 tons of cannabis from Odisha and Chhattisgarh on Monday and Tuesday.

“On the basis of specific intelligence information, DRI Madhya Pradesh officers intercepted a truck with the Andhra Pradesh registration number near Raipur (Chhattisgarh). The truck was carrying ganja [cannabis] that it was hidden under the bags of organic fertilizers, ”the DRI said in a statement.

The truck was transporting 1,534 kg (more than 1.5 tonnes) of soybean worth Rs3.07 crore from the Araku Valley (Andhra Pradesh) to Rahta in Maharashtra. Five people have been arrested in connection with the recovery and there are likely to be more arrests.

More than 2,000 kg (2 tons) of ganja in a 12-wheeler was recovered in the Rayagada district of Odisha on Tuesday, even as those in the vehicle escaped.

Police Deputy Inspector General Jainarayan Pankaj said the shipment was heading to Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan and New Delhi.

“Unlike Mallana cream from Himachal Pradesh or Idukki Gold ganja from Kerala, ganja grown in Odisha and the Arakku Valley of Andhra Pradesh are the most popular due to their low price. Although locally cannabis sells for about Rs 5,000 per kg, it sells for Rs 10,000 per kg outside Odisha, depending on its quality. In Odisha, the bordering forests of Malkangiri-Koraput districts, Kandhamal and Boudh districts and Rayagada-Gajapati districts are the areas where cannabis is grown on a large scale. The plants don’t require a lot of water and can grow in three months, ”said Pankaj.

Authorities said marijuana is mainly transported via National Highway 30 in Bastar, hit by the Chhattisgarh Maoist insurgency.

“The marijuana from Odisha and Araku Valley is transported via NH-30. Trucks enter from Konta and go through Sukma, Jagdalpur, Kondagaon, Kanker, Dhamatari and arrive in Raipur. Once the shipment reaches Raipur, it is easy for them to transport it into Maharashtra via Rajnandgaon, ”said a police officer in Bastar.

He added that the police in these areas are involved in anti-Maoist operations and the verification or tracking of marijuana trafficking is less of a priority. “We don’t have enough police force to participate in marijuana tracking …”

An intelligence official said that Rs 100 million worth of ganja is supplied through this route each year.

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