Tue. Feb 27th, 2024
New Strategy by Maoists to Evade Satellite Imaging System in Odisha

Maoists in Odisha have recently devised a new strategy to outsmart the satellite imaging system used by the police to detect cannabis plantations in dense forests. According to top police sources, the Maoists have instructed villagers to plant only 150 ganja saplings in one specific area surrounded by other shrubs and trees. This tactic aims to confuse the technology and thwart the police’s efforts to identify the cannabis plants.

The increased crackdown on ganja cultivation and the widespread destruction of cannabis plants by the police have forced the Maoists to rethink their approach. Information from various villages suggests that the Maoists have advised villagers to temporarily reduce the density of ganja cultivation. By planting fewer saplings in a specific location and surrounding it with other plants, the Maoists hope to mislead technology, including drones and enforcement agencies.

The satellite images received by the police, obtained from institutions such as the Advanced Data Processing Research Institute (ADRIN) and the Bhaskaracharya National Institute for Space Applications and Geo-informatics (BISAG-N) through the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), have proven to be somewhat unreliable. The satellite imaging technology often captures other plants and shrubs that resemble cannabis plants, leading the Maoists to believe that camouflaging ganja plants within small plantations is an effective method of evading detection.

Maoists have long been involved in promoting ganja cultivation, profiting from the lucrative marijuana trade and imposing hefty levies on villagers. Ganja cultivation is particularly prevalent in the Maoist-affected districts of Koraput, Malkangiri, Gajapati, Rayagada, Boudh, and Kandhamal.

Ganja, with prices ranging from Rs 50,000 to Rs 1 lakh per kilogram, presents a significant financial opportunity for those involved. However, the cultivation of cannabis is a criminal offense punishable by up to 10 years in prison and fines of up to Rs 1 lakh under Section 20 of the Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act.

In response to this ongoing issue, the police and excise personnel have actively destroyed cannabis plants across vast areas, including 23,724 acres in 2021-22 and 24,395 acres in 2022-23, with an approximate value of Rs 332 crore and Rs 341 crore, respectively. The estimated cost per acre of ganja plants destroyed ranges from Rs 1.3 lakh to Rs 1.4 lakh.

It is crucial to note that villagers typically cultivate ganja between November and December and harvest it in February and March. On average, an acre can accommodate 1,500 hemp plants, each yielding at least 500 grams of ganja upon harvesting. The police’s continuous efforts to combat ganja cultivation have significantly impacted the Maoists in Koraput and Malkangiri. The government has also been actively promoting alternative livelihood options, such as horticulture and the cultivation of other crops, to discourage ganja cultivation among villagers.

Maoists Employ New Tactics to Elude Satellite Imaging in Odisha

FAQ:

1. What is the new strategy employed by Maoists in Odisha to evade satellite imaging?
– Maoists have instructed villagers to plant only 150 cannabis saplings in one specific area surrounded by other shrubs and trees to confuse the technology and make it difficult for the police to identify the cannabis plants.

2. Why have the Maoists changed their approach to ganja cultivation?
– The increased crackdown on ganja cultivation by the police has forced the Maoists to rethink their strategy. They are now temporarily reducing the density of ganja cultivation by planting fewer saplings in a specific location and surrounding it with other plants to mislead technology and enforcement agencies.

3. Why are satellite images unreliable in detecting cannabis plants?
– Satellite imaging technology often captures other plants and shrubs that resemble cannabis plants, making it difficult to accurately identify them. This has led the Maoists to believe that camouflaging ganja plants within small plantations is an effective method of evading detection.

4. Which districts in Odisha are particularly affected by ganja cultivation?
– Ganja cultivation is prevalent in Maoist-affected districts such as Koraput, Malkangiri, Gajapati, Rayagada, Boudh, and Kandhamal.

5. What are the potential financial gains from ganja cultivation?
– Ganja, with prices ranging from Rs 50,000 to Rs 1 lakh per kilogram, presents a significant financial opportunity for those involved. However, cultivation of cannabis is a criminal offense punishable by up to 10 years in prison and fines of up to Rs 1 lakh.

6. How have the police and excise personnel responded to the issue of ganja cultivation?
– The police and excise personnel have actively destroyed cannabis plants over large areas, including 23,724 acres in 2021-22 and 24,395 acres in 2022-23, with an approximate value of Rs 332 crore and Rs 341 crore, respectively.

7. How has the government addressed the issue of ganja cultivation among villagers?
– The government has been actively promoting alternative livelihood options, such as horticulture and cultivation of other crops, to discourage ganja cultivation among villagers. This, along with the police’s efforts, has significantly impacted the Maoists in Koraput and Malkangiri.

Key Terms:
– Ganja: A term used to refer to marijuana or cannabis.
– Maoists: Members or sympathizers of the Communist Party of India (Maoist), a banned left-wing extremist group in India.
– Satellite imaging: The use of satellite technology to capture images of the Earth’s surface from space.

Related Links:
ADRI: Website of the Advanced Data Processing Research Institute (ADRI).
BISAG-N: Website of the Bhaskaracharya National Institute for Space Applications and Geo-informatics (BISAG-N).
Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB): Official website of the Narcotics Control Bureau in India.