Shopian: Though locals of Wachi, Melhura and Wandanoo villages claim that they have ended the cultivation of cannabis, recent raids by the revenue and excise departments have found cultivated cannabis in the area. The cannabis plants were later destroyed by the authorities.
According to an excise official, cannabis on 90 kanals of land was destroyed over the last several days, which included cultivated as well as wild cannabis.
A revenue official said that many people had harvested the cannabis and had put it out for drying in the sun. This, too, has been destroyed, the official said.
“At places we saw cultivated cannabis between maize plants, to prevent it from being seen. We conducted an extensive drive and destroyed all cannabis, whether it was cultivated, wild or which had been kept for drying,” said Fida Muhammad Bhat, Tehsildar Zainpora.
Manzoor Ahmad Misgar, Inspector at the Excise department for the area, told Kashmir Reader, “We destroyed cannabis on about 90 kanals of land in Melhura, Wandanoo and Wachi villages.” However, he said, there has been a considerable decline in the quantity of cannabis grown in the area in recent years, which is a positive sign.
Revenue officials said that the difference between wild and cultivated cannabis is that wild cannabis yields less quantity. Once fertilisers are added to it, however, then a huge quantity can be harvested.
“People still are growing it, on the banks of the Rambiara rivulet or under the cover of maize plants. But we will not leave a single plant for them,” the Inspector said.
Last year, during raids where cannabis was found to be cultivated, authorities had booked at least 40 persons in two FIRs for the violation of laws against this banned crop.
Lumberdar of Melhura village, Abdul Khaliq Koka, told Kashmir Reader that he finds many persons have stopped cultivating cannabis because of the surveillance by the revenue department and police.
“Nobody stopped it because they were repentant but only because they were being booked under law. If any relaxation is given to them, they will do it again. The Tehsildar Zainpora worked very hard to stop this menace and I appreciate him for it,” Koka said, adding that some people left cannabis cultivation because their children became trapped in its addiction.
Tehsildar Zainpora, Fida Muhammad Bhat, said that they are keenly watching the developments in the area. “Every day we are conducting cannabis destruction drives in the area. Eradication of such a huge menace wasn’t an easy job. We are after it and I feel the efforts taken by revenue and excise departments have been successful, so far,” he said, promising continuation of the drives till every cannabis plant is destroyed.