Guwahati, Dec. 14: Customs officials have destroyed ganja cultivated on more than 35 bighas of land in remote areas of Barpeta district in Assam.
An official source said a 25-member team of customs sleuths with the help of police personnel destroyed illicit cannabis cultivation spread over vast tracts of land in Kamarpara, Fakirpara and Naleswar areas under Alupatichar and Baghbor police stations in the lower Assam district in the daylong drive carried out yesterday.
The officers trekked for several hours and then crossed a rivulet by boat to reach the site of cultivation, which is about 35km from the Alupatichar police station.
“The operation was carried out at the right time since the ganja plants were fully grown and ripe for harvesting,” the source said.
The illicit ganja cultivation is mostly carried out on remote and inaccessible sandbars and riverine areas of the state to avoid detection by law enforcement agencies.
According to the source, the total value of the full-grown cannabis plants, which were cultivated on 11 plots of land measuring over 35 bighas, is more than Rs 1 crore.
Policemen from Alopatichar police station and 21 policemen from Barpeta police reserve assisted the customs officials in the operation.
He said full-grown cannabis plants were uprooted and then burnt using fuel along with semi-dry ganja at the spot itself.
“Similar operations were also carried out in Barpeta district last year and this year there was no ganja cultivation in those areas,” the source said.
“This year, the cultivators have shifted to more remote areas, which are not connected with motorable roads to escape the watchful eye of police and other security agencies,” he said.
Cultivation and trading of cannabis are prohibited under provision of the Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985.
The source said further investigation is on to ascertain the identity of the growers and trace the locations where those are sold.
He said it is suspected that a lion’s share of ganja illegally cultivated in Assam is smuggled to Bangladesh through the porous international border and river routes where the contraband has high demand.