Ganja plantation an evil phenomenon amidst massive crack down
Ganja cultivation, a money spinning venture, has turned into a major cause of concern in all three subdivisions of Sepahijala district even after joint teams comprising District and Sub-divisional administrations and Narcotic Control Bureau (NCB) destroyed plantation spread over 1186 acres during the past two years- 2015-16 and 2016-17.
And of course, the intensity of raids and destroying ganja plantation was more than that of the previous year against all odds. While altogether 4,15,500 plants were destroyed in the year 2015-16 , in the year 2016-17 as many as 8,01,780 plants were destroyed by joint teams of the district administrations, Sub-divisional administrations, NCB, police, Enforcement Branch and BSF, according to a report.
In Bishalgarh subdivision, a total of 4, 14,000 ganja plants were destroyed while 3, 31,300 plants were burnt in Bishalgarh subdivision and only 6480 plants were destroyed in Jampuijala subdivision in the last year. Interestingly, most of the ganja plantations were raised in Reserve Forest (RF) land while no ganja plantation was found in private-owned land in the three subdivisions. Ganja plantation is basically concentrated in areas like Kalamchoura, South Kalamchoura, Harihardhola, Sutarmura, Rajnagar, Gajaria, Debipur and Potia. It means ganja planters have been targeting RF plots in three subdivisions for the money spinning business.
“Keeping in view of the growing menace, law enforcement agencies including the district and subdivional administrations had launched a massive crackdown on ganja plantation last financial year. There was success too but all we need to make people aware about the adverse impact of such kind of works”, said District Magistrate (DM), Sepahijala PK Chakravarty on Monday.
“Of late around 24 families who were uprooted from Jampuijala due to ethnic strife were settled in a plot which was used for ganja plantation. We must ensure fertile land must be used for either traditional cultivation or plantation of profit making trees”, he continued.
“If one wants to invest only Rs. 100, he or she will receive return of Rs. 300 within six months as land is very fertile in this part of the state”, said an official of BSF.
He pointed out, “If present trend is continued, there will be serious implication in the national flagship programme- MGNREGA in the days to come. People will not show interest to engage them in MGNREGA work as the wage is very low- Rs. 175 per mandays”. Giving more details about the ganja plantation in Bishalgarh and Sonamura subdivision, a few Agartala based traders invest crores of money in ganja plantation there hoping a bumper crops. Most interestingly, each year they are getting bumper return despite raids by the law enforcement agencies.
However, there are people who want ganja plantation must be legalized keeping in mind of its rich harvesting in the state. “ What is harm in legalizing ganja plantation as it’s return is good in compare to other traditional crops- rice, wheat and vegetables”, said a villager of Potia, a border village of Bishalgarh subdivision.
He also reasoned, “Most of the processed ganja is not being consumed in the state. Ganja has good demand in states like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Chhattisgarh besides across the border where a kg ganja is sold at Rs. 7500/8000 whereas it’s selling price only Rs. 3000/3200 here. If government legalizes it, good amount of revenue will be ensured for the state. Now, the government is losing huge revenue for not legalizing it”.