Odisha Plans To Use Drones To Detect & Root Out Hemp Crops

Bhubaneswar: After stepping up enforcement activities against illegal hemp cultivation across Odisha, the government now plans to utilise satellite and drone technology to locate and destroy those illegal hemp crops before harvesting.

At a review meeting here on Tuesday Chief Secretary Suresh Chandra Mahapatra directed the officials concerned to spot “the areas and villages in which illegal hemp cultivation is done with the help of local intelligence. Continuous destruction of the crop before harvesting would be a strong deterrent, said Mahapatra.

He also directed the officials to identify the land records of private persons on whose land hemp is cultivated and take stringent action against them under provisions of NDPS Act.

Mahapatra directed the Collectors to prepare district level action plan for prevention of this illegal means of earning “through targeted alternative livelihood interventions”.  “Identify the poor tribal families who are living on this trade and provide them alternative livelihood opportunities through convergence of Odisha Livelihood Mission, National Livelihood Mission, MGNREGS, high return cash crop, agri-business, agro-product aggregation, small food processing units, goatery, poultry, integrated farming and similar other scheme,” he added.

Field-level officers of different departments were also asked to visit the villages frequently and follow up livelihood activities with the farmers and wage earners.

He called for joint action among police, excise and revenue departments. Hemp crop over 22,217 acres was destroyed during 2020-21.

Development Commissioner Pradeep Kumar Jena advised to intensify awareness and IEC activities in the identified villages with involvement of village community, PRI representatives, NGOs, SHGs, farmers’ clubs and educated youth.

Director General of Police Abhay, Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Sanjeev Chopra, Principal Secretary Excise Sushil Kumar Lohani, Principal Secretary Panchayati Raj and Drinking Water Ashok Kumar Meena, Secretary Agriculture and Farmers’ Empowerment Suresh Kumar Vashishth were present.

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