The Central Bureau of Narcotics has destroyed around 1,032 hectares of illicit cannabis (ganja) cultivation in Himachal Pradesh (HP), in one of the biggest anti-drug operations conducted in the state, Union Finance Ministry said on Tuesday.
The operation was conducted over the past two weeks.
On receiving specific intelligence about illicit cannabis (ganja) cultivation in Himachal Pradesh, teams of officers of CBN were formed and dispatched. Officers of CBN verified the intelligence and further carried out physical surveys resulting in the detection of more areas of illicit cultivation. Subsequently, the destruction operation was started with the support of the District Administration, Forest Department and the Police, according to an official statement released by the Union Ministry of Finance.
During this operation, a two-pronged approach of creating awareness among villagers along with enforcement was adopted by officers of the Central Bureau of Narcotics (CBN).
Community mobilisation was adopted by sensitising villagers about the adverse effects of drugs on the body and mind. Threats that drugs tend to pose to the future of youth and children were explained. Relevant penal provisions of the NDPS act were also explained to Village Pradhans and members, consequent to which resolutions were passed by villagers to destroy illicit cannabis plantations around the villages. Villagers assisted officers of CBN to destroy illicit cultivation by actively taking part in exercise under the supervision of CBN officers.
Four teams of CBN Officers were simultaneously allotted different areas of operation and given the flexibility to work jointly in certain areas with large illicit cultivation of cannabis. Officials from Forest department, Revenue & the Police department also accompanied teams during operations in light of sensitive nature of the operation.
It is noteworthy to mention that since this is a season of apple & pomegranate harvesting, labour availability was a problem but it failed to deter the grit and determination of CBN teams which swung into action and conducted destruction operation in hostile terrain with steep slopes and rains. The officers climbed daily up to 11,000 feet above sea level and even camped in sensitive areas to expedite the destruction of illicit cultivation of cannabis. Later on, officers from DRI (Directorate of Revenue Intelligence) also joined this operation.
GPS coordinates were used to tag/mark the sensitive locations and DRONES were used for detection and surveillance of the illicit cannabis (ganja) cultivation areas which resulted in greater success of the entire operation.
"Mission Crackdown shall continue with same vigour in other parts of the country and CBN is fully committed against the Drug Menace," said Rajesh F Dhabre, Narcotics Commissioner, Central Bureau of Narcotics.
Active support in terms of logistics and manpower was provided throughout the operation by the Office of District Collector, CCF and SP Kullu and DRI.
The Central Bureau of Narcotics (CBN) is the Apex Drug Law Enforcement Agency under the Department of Revenue, Ministry of Finance, Government of India tasked with identification and destruction of illicit cultivation of cannabis and Opium along with its other responsibilities.
CBN has conducted destruction operations in many states like West Bengal, Jammu & Kashmir, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Uttarakhand etc., resulting in destruction of more than 25,000 hectares of illicit cultivation of Opium and Cannabis over the years. CBN had also destroyed approximately 3,600 hectares of Illicit Opium in Arunachal Pradesh in the month of February and March this year. CBN intends to continue such destruction operations of illicit cultivation across India in the future as well, the Union Finance Ministry said. (ANI)