For decades farmers in Lakshmipuram village in Telangana have been harvesting ganja as a cash crop and selling them in open bazaars, unperturbed that growing and selling ganja is illegal. However, their seamless business was interrupted when police cordoned off the village that comprises more than 200 families and conducted a search operation in the village.
The police got a tip-off when they detained a few engineering college students in Tandur, a neighbouring mandal, for possessing ganja, on Wednesday. After detaining them, during the investigation they revealed their source’s name and on told the police about how they shared the contact of their source with their friends.
“As the quality of the ganja is fresh, many youngsters and students from the posh Banjara Hills and Jubilee Hills of Hyderabad would come and buy from here,” said Chintala Saidi Reddy, Tandur Circle Inspector.
The supplier, who was nabbed by the police, then led the police to Lakshmipuram village.
Police sent two constables posing as students to buy ganja worth Rs 10,000 from the village. The constables were then able to obtain two full bags of ganja from a woman.
Assessing the major haul, the constables reported to Tandur police, who then sought permission from the Vikarabad Superintendent of Police to conduct a raid.
“Two police teams comprising 50 constables, 10 Sub-Inspectors and 2 Circle Inspectors, surrounded the village. We blocked the roads and raided the houses. We found that each household had at least two-three bags of ganja stocked like rice,” Chintala Reddy said.
One of the arrested persons told the CI that for decades they have been growing ganja and the police have never entered their village. He said that farmers in the village harvest ganja during rainfall.
“Farmers in the village cleverly grow ganja in the middle of other crops like red gram and cotton so that no one notices,” said Kodangal Circle Inspector, Shankar, who was also part of the operation.
Police have so far arrested five persons—Bunku Ramulu, Mallappa, Kishtappa, Aashappa and Ramulu, all aged above 40.
Chintala told TNM that during the raid women who fled into the farm fields, weeded out the ganja before police could come.
He said that the arrested persons claimed innocence and saying it is not just them but the entire village that grows ganja.
Police are still investigating the case. The arrested persons were charged under NDPS (Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances) Act. Police seized 30 kg of ganja during the raid.