The West Bengal CID is using drones to spot areas in the State where cannabis and poppy seeds are being grown illegally, mostly in districts having international borders, a senior State police official said on Tuesday.
The drive using drones seeks to end the cultivation of narcotics in West Bengal and the State CID is taking the assistance of Narcotics Control Bureau for it, he said.
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The drive against illegal cultivation of cannabis and poppy seeds, which is obtained from opium poppy and is a popular food article, was launched recently in the districts of Coochbehar, Malda, Murshidabad and Nadia besides Bankura after inputs of such activity by farmers were unearthed, he said.
“Cultivation of cannabis, poppy seeds and plants which yield narcotics are illegal and totally banned. The administrations of the districts have been cautioning farmers about the ban and the legal actions that they will attract if they violate it. Despite this, there are farmers who are cultivating such plants secretly in hidden plots. We are now using drones to spot such areas,” the official said.
In Tufanganj and Dinhata in Coochbehar district over 25 acres were freed from illegal cultivation of cannabis last week, he said.
“Using drones has proved to be quite helpful as spotting from the top is easy and cutivators cannot see us. Using one drone we can cover at least 5km in one go,” the official said.
Cultivation of cannabis and poppy seeds begin in November and end by the last week of February. Hence the CID initiated the drive at this time of the year, he added.