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Govt to use satellite imagery to keep tab on cannabis, poppy cultivation




 Satellite services will be utilised to keep a tab on the growing practice of Cannabis and Poppy  cultivation in more and more areas in far flung zones in the State.

Sources in State Government said in order to get authentic data for taking up enforcement and destruction work, it has been decided to capture maximum areas covered under illegal cultivation of cannabis through satellite imagery.

Moreover, intelligence network will be strengthened to gather more inside information about such activities, which is detrimental to the interest of the State.

Financial incentives will be provided to the informers and the Superintendents of Police of the concerned districts will recommend the cases as soon as possible, so that informants will receive the payments at an early date, said sources familiar with the development.

These issues were taken up and have been decided in a recently convened high level meeting chaired by Chief Secretary Aditya Prasad Padhi to curb illegal cultivation of cannabis in the State.

ORSAC will be taking up the responsibility for such activities as this nodal agency is also taking up help of satellite imagery to keep a tab on the illegal mining in the State.

ORSAC’s efforts in this regard has been appreciated and yielded results in focusing areas where illegal mining was carried out, said a source in government.

Official record shows that vast areas in nine districts - Angul, Deogarh, Sambalpur, Boudh, Kandhamal, Gajapati, Rayagada, Malkangiri and Nayagarh - are utilized for cannabis cultivation.

Secretary Excise Vir Vikram Yadav said that once data point is received, the same is required to be verified at the field level.

As illegal cultivation of cannabis is more lucrative, people are opting out of paddy cultivation and going for cannabis coverage in the fields near the rivers.

Far flung zones of Angul, Malkangiri, Boudh and Kandhamal find more and more cultivation of cannabis as youth are engaged in such an activity as it is more paying than paddy cultivation, said a senior lawmaker of Angul.

It has come to fore that enforcement authorities have failed to destroy illegal cannabis cultivation found to be carried out in several districts.

Services of the Peoples’ Representatives at the ground zero is needed to be utilised and newly elected members of Panchayati Raj institutions will be sensitized to report on illegal cannabis cultivation in their respective.

Officials do admit that even as the PRI members have information about such cultivation of cannabis, due to lack of sensitization they feel shy to report such illegal actions.

Sources in the government said similar is the case of Poppy cultivation in the State. Apart from cannabis, Poppy cultivation is also rising alarmingly in the State which needs to be curbed.

Finding Poppy cultivation more paying, unemployed youths are lured to go for such type of cultivation and they are to be disassociated from such an illegal act, added a senior official.

It has been decided to make effective the Multi Disciplinary Squads (MDS)s at district level, so that those will take proactive steps to curb such activities and go for effective Excise Enforcement.

Officials said while 4700 cases have been detected due to MDS efforts, 3959 persons have been arrested due to enforcement action in several districts.






Editorial

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