The district administration has made deep inroads to areas of Chitrakonda and successfully persuaded farmers to take up Turmeric, Ginger and potato farming instead of illegal money spinner hemp cultivation.

Malkangiri, known to be the epicenter of Maoist activity in the state has a flourishing ganja cultivation and trade running to several hundred crores.

Over the last one year , the administration undertook several measures to try and convince the locals that the illegality will put them in jail and they need to stop ganja cultivation.

As a substitute the administration encouraged the farmers to cultivate ginger, turmeric and potato in Badapada, Badapadar and Paparametla of Chitrakonda Constituency. The District Administration has been taught them about the farming of Turmeric , Ginger and Potato.

They formed S.H.G. group and trained the female farmers to produce good quality of Turmeric, Ginger and Potato. The trade and market mechanics was also informed and quality seeds provided alongwith fertilizer.

In current financial year more than 5 quintal turmeric has been grown and to project this a farmers festival was held recently at Badapadar.

The District Administration inform the villagers that farming of Ganja is a criminal activity for that they could go to the jail.

They were also encouraged to take to other crops like soya, pulses etc in the area. Separate training for farming, commercialization of farm product and trade process will be given to farmers in areas like Jadam, Panasput, Andapali, Dhuliput, Jantri and Ralegarh said official sources. The administration has assured the SHG’s of decent market linkage and price for the produce. A separate market committee will set up, they added.

It is learnt that the illegal ganja ( hemp) trade in the district is worth Rs 500 crore and it is allegedly linked to traders from outside the state as well as Maoists. The district administration, rural development agencies and tribal development department had taken up the challenge to scuttle the illegal activity by alternate farming measures.

DRDA Project Director Lingaraj Panda, P.M. Selo and Dr. Manjit Lad. BDO of Chitrakonda Larimon Kharsel , AHO Namita Madhi, BPM Parsuram Behera, BLC Somanath Kumbhar, Gopal Padhi were present at a meeting that was held to take stock of the progress and future course of action.