Bhubaneswar (Odisha) [India], October 6 (ANI): Enforcement activities against illegal hemp cultivation have been stepped up with the destruction of the crop in 22,217 acres during 2020-2021.
This came out after a high-level meeting on the prevention of illegal hemp cultivation held under the Chairmanship of Chief Secretary Suresh Chandra Mahapatra.
While reviewing the district wise situation, Chief Secretary Mahapatra was directed to intensify enforcement activities through joint action among police, excise and revenue department officials. Mahapatra also directed to spot "the areas and villages in which illegal hemp cultivation is done through a collection of local intelligence".
It was also decided to apply satellite and drone technology to locate the areas of illegal cultivation and destroy those before harvesting. "Continuous destruction of the crop before harvesting", said Mahapatra would itself be a strong deterrent.
Chief Secretary also directed to identify the land record of the private persons in whose land hemp is cultivated and proceed against them stringently as per provisions of Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 (NDPS) Act.
Further, Mahapatra directed the Collectors to prepare a district-level action plan for the prevention of this illegal means of earning "through targeted alternative livelihood interventions".
They were asked to "identify the tribal poor families who are living on this trade and provide them alternative livelihood opportunities through the convergence of Odisha Livelihood Mission, National Livelihood Mission, MGNREGS, high return cash crop, agri-business, agro-product aggregation, small food processing units, poultry, integrated farming and similar other schemes".
Development Commissioner Pradeep Kumar Jena advised intensifying awareness and IEC activities in the identified villages with the involvement of the village community, PRI representatives, NGOs, SHGs, farmers' clubs and educated youth. Jena also asked from village, GP and block-level committees for the creation of awareness, collection of information and promotion of alternative livelihood activities. It was also decided to enhance the grants under OLM, NRLM and departmental livelihood schemes in the vulnerable areas.
Chief Secretary Mahapatra directed the Collectors to visit the villages where hemp cultivation was generally found in previous years and talk with people regarding alternative sustainable livelihood options. The field-level officers of different departments were asked to visit the villages frequently and follow up livelihood activities with the farmers and wage earners. (ANI)