Tripura’s ruling BJP-IPFT government will give agriculture support for growing pulses to cannabis cultivators who were affected by massive crackdown since the new government assumed office in March, agriculture minister Pranajit Singha Roy said.
In its effort to provide relief to such farmers and phase out cannabis plantations, the government has tried to identify profitable crops which can be grown in less time on these lands.
Speaking to reporters at the state secretariat, Singha Roy said Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb has taken bold steps against drugs. “A section of people took active role in cultivating cannabis in large tracts of land in the state. Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb has taken initiatives to stop cannabis cultivation. We shall not allow such cultivation on these lands anymore,” he said.
Over 22 thousand kg of cannabis was seized in different parts of the state by officials of BSF, Tripura Police, Excise Department and other authorities during last five months. Over 120 persons were also arrested in connection with these hauls.
On the issue, agriculture minister Pranajit Singha Roy said that though some people financially benefitted through illegal cannabis cultivation in the previous years, but no country could develop with such narcotic cultivation.
“We have got 2.55 lakh hectare land under food grain cultivation. Around 1.5 lakh hectare land is still lying unused for growing food grains. We have found that pulses and oil-producing crops can be used in such fields. So, cannabis cultivating farmers who were affected by government action would be given agriculture support to grow pulses”, the agriculture minister told reporters.
He also said that while moong, masoor and other pulses are commonly cultivated, black grams or maskolai daal are not very popular among farmers despite having good market potential. “We don’t focus on black grams. But the pulse sells for at least Rs. 100 per kilo in Delhi. We shall trade the surplus pulse there and in other parts of the country”, Singha Roy said.
Officials were already asked to distribute 30 MT black grams from government stocks among farmers who were involved with cannabis cultivation.
The minister informed that his government is focusing on industrialization as well as agricultural development to generate employment among youths.