Pubdate: Tue, 28 Sep 2004
Source: Hindustan Times (India)
Copyright: 2004, Hindustan Times Ltd.
Note: from a HT Correspondent
Bookmark: (Cannabis)


A TEAM of 200 personnel from the Narcotics Control Bureau, Kullu police and 
Homo Guards today left for Malana, a remote village in the Manikaran valley 
infamous world over for the production of charas or 'Malana cream', to 
carry out the biggest ever 'Destroy Cannabis' operation.

Kullu SP Anand Pratap Singh told HT that the team, led by Narcotics Control 
Bureau SP O.P. Sharma who will be assisted by Kullu DSP Prem Chand and 
Manali DSP Khushal Sharma, comprises 158 policemen, including a lady 
inspector and a woman constable.

The Zonal Director of NCB will supervise the whole operation, which has 
been initially planned for 10 days but could be extended, if needed, he 
said. The SP said before planning the operation, the images from the remote 
sensing satellite were scanned to pinpoint the areas, especially the 
hilltops near Malana, where cannabis flourished.

Singh said last year a joint operation was conducted in Malana village and 
cannabis over more than 1,000 bighas of land was destroyed.

This year, he said, the main stress would be on the Bichen Thatch, about 10 
km from Malana where high-breed cannabis was cultivated by the villagers. 
The SP said the team would establish its base camp at Malana and conduct a 
recce of the area. Then, he said, the team, equipped with latest machines, 
would be divided into groups who would take care of different areas. NCB SP 
O.P. Sharma told HT that last year, in a similar operation, they had warned 
the people of Malana of registering cases against them if they did not give 
up cultivating cannabis.

Malana village, situated at the height of about 10,000 feet above the mean 
sea level, produces high-quality charas that fetches high profits in the 
international market.

Around 55 km from Kullu, the motorable road hits a cul-de-sac at the Malana 
Hydel Project. From there, it is a steep uphill climb of 5 km to reach the 
village famous for its 'Malana cream'. One team had reached Malana village 
till the filing of this report.
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