Over 3.5 tonnes of cannabis recovered in Odisha, Chhattisgarh
Police and directorate of revenue intelligence (DRI) sleuths seized over 3.5 tonnes of cannabis from Odisha and Chhattisgarh on Monday and Tuesday.
“On the basis of specific intelligence input, officers of the DRI Madhya Pradesh intercepted a truck of Andhra Pradesh’s registration number near Raipur (Chhattisgarh). The truck was carrying ganja [cannabis] which was concealed below organic fertilizer sacks,” the DRI said in a statement.
The truck was carrying 1,534 kg (over 1.5 tonnes) of ganja worth Rs3.07 crore from Araku Valley (Andhra Pradesh) to Maharashtra’s Rahta. Five people have been arrested in connection with the recovery and more arrests were likely.
Over 2,000 kg (2 tonnes) of ganja in a 12-wheeler truck was recovered in Odisha’s Rayagada district on Tuesday even as those in the vehicle escaped.
Deputy inspector general of police Jainarayan Pankaj said the consignment was headed for Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan, and New Delhi.
“Unlike Mallana cream from Himachal Pradesh or Idukki Gold ganja from Kerala, the ganja grown in Odisha and Arakku Valley of Andhra Pradesh are the most popular ones due to their low price. Though locally cannabis is sold at about Rs5,000 per kg, it sells anything between Rs10,000 a 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 an extensive scale. The plants don’t require much water and can grow in three months,” said Pankaj.
Officials said ganja is mostly transported through National Highway-30 in Chhattisgarh’s Maoist insurgency-hit Bastar.
“Ganja from Odisha and Araku Valley is transported through NH-30. The trucks enter from Konta and pass through Sukma, Jagdalpur, Kondagaon, Kanker, Dhamatari and reach Raipur. Once the consignment reaches Raipur, it is easy for them to transport in Maharashtra through Rajnandgaon,” said a police officer in Bastar.
He added police in these areas are involved in anti-Maoist operations and checking or tracking of ganja peddling is less priority. “We do not have enough police force to engage in tracking ganja…”
An intelligence official said about Rs100 crore worth ganja is supplied every year through this route.