NREGA for uprooting cannabis plants

Shimla: A stretched out police force having a hard task to uproot cannabis plants that grow abundantly in the wild as well as cultivate on farms, has devised plans to employ NREGA program by engaging pachayats for destroying the narcotic plants.

District police chief Sonal Agnihotri said that under campaign mode, panchayats from 11th July would be engaged for destroying cannabis plants.

Based on physical survey, past records and intelligence inputs, we have identified 689 bighas of land that is under cannabis cultivation, he said. The two areas where more of cannabis cultivation is taking place in Theog and Chopal, he added.

Giving details about the plans to uproot large areas, most of them wild, Agnihotri said that the whole campaign would be carried out under NREGA, the rural jobs guarantee scheme.

“It would help to create jobs in the rural areas and will also help society get rid of a plant which is a source for drug abuse among many, including school children,” he said.

Police would only have a supervisory role but where large scale organized cultivation is notice, the landowners would be booked under lay, he added.

Earlier in the day, deputy commissioner Onkar Sharma held a meeting about linking the cannabis free campaign with educating the people about alternate farming and health hazards due to drug abuse.

Himalayan cannabis is highly valued by contraband narcotic traders with law enforcers estimating that Himachal Pradesh is the highest producer of the illegal drug contributing as much as 25% of the country’s production.

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