16,000 kg of contraband seized in last 70 days, say officials
The excise and prohibition officials have intensified checks on the ganja smuggling in the district, with a special focus on Visakhapatnam Agency, in the wake of the harvesting season of the contraband crop. The crack down has resulted in the seizure of around 16,000 kg ganja in the last 70 days in the district.
According to the officials, the ganja farmers are selling the contraband at reduced prices to clear the stock and avoid losses.
In the last five months, teams comprising the officials of Excise and Prohibition Department has seized 26,126 kg ganja with an estimated market value of more than ₹25 crore in 88 cases, along with the arrest of 229 persons.
Statistics suggest that around 14,730 kg ganja worth somewhere between ₹10 crore to ₹15 crore have been seized in 28 cases between September 01 and October 20. The excise officials have also nabbed 68 persons in this period.
In the same period, Visakhapatnam district has witnessed the seizure of 6,000 kg ganja, the highest catch ever, that was hoarded in a house at Biroguda under Munchingputtu police station limits, the officials say.
“It takes at least 90 days for ganja crop to come to production. Usually, the farmers sow the crop during June or July and harvest it by October. Between September and December, the farmers try to dispose of the stock to prevent losses. Several farmers go for the second crop from January. We have intensified the checks across the Visakha agency,” Assistant Excise Superintendent S. Srinivas.
As per the intelligence reports, ganja is being cultivated in more than 10,000 acres in the Agency, with the production estimate of 1,000 kg per acre, he explains.
Officials further say that farmers sell a kg ganja for ₹1,500. In case of procurement of huge stock, they consider to reduce the price to ₹1,200 per kg.
“This year, the farmers were found selling the contraband at half of the regular price to make sure that they do not bear losses. This came to light after the excise teams caught a consignment at Garikabandha village on October 15. They seized 1,800 kg ganja that was being transported to Bihar via Bhubaneswar. The contraband was procured at ₹800 oper kg,” says excise inspector (Anakapalle) Kameswara Rao.
According to him, huge stocks of ganja are being transported to northern States including Bihar, New Delhi via Odisha. More