Ganja crop in over 5,500 acres destroyed under ‘Parivartana’, says SEB official
‘Affected farmers are being advised to cultivate alternative crops’
Ganja crop in over 5,500 acres has been destroyed so far in Visakhapatnam Agency under ‘Parivartana’, a joint operation being undertaken by the Special Enforcement Bureau (SEB), District Police and the Excise Department.
Addressing the media here on Saturday, SEB Joint Director Satish Kumar said that the destruction was taken up in about eight mandals, which include a few hotbeds such as G. Madugula and Pedabayalu. About 360 acres were destroyed after the farmers volunteered to destroy the standing crop, he said.
Referring to the resistance from the farmers, he said the teams face resistance from one out of five villages, but at the end of the day, they able to convince the farmers to be part of the ‘Parivartana’ programme.
Speaking about alternative livelihood to the farmers, he agreed that initially they are going to face some hardship but alternative crop pattern is being offered to them. “We have been discussing with the tribals on alternative crops and they have been asking about sweet oranges, guava, litchi and commercial crop like ginger, turmeric and pepper. We are working them out with the district administration and the departments of horticulture and agriculture,” he said.
According to him, over 10,000 acres is under ganja cultivation and about 5,500 have been destroyed. “We are working in phases and slowly moving into the interior parts. We are half-way to the Maoist-affected cut-off area,” he said.
He also said that ganja cultivation is huge and the economics can go into hundreds of crores. “We are trying to get to the main kingpins, who include the main smugglers and financiers, who hail from other States such as Tamil Nadu and Kerala. We are in talks with the other States to work out an inter-State enforcement,” he said.