Visakhapatnam, Feb. 12 (IANS): In what is believed to be the biggest operation of its kind, Andhra Pradesh police destroyed more than two lakh kilograms of ganja (cannabis) worth Rs 500 crore on Saturday.
The dried ganja was set on fire in a large-scale event organized by the Visakhapatnam district police.
Police Director General D. Gautam Sawang lit one of the piles of seized ganja to officially launch the event which was held in an open area of Koduru village in Anakapalli mandal.
Andhra Pradesh Police and Special Enforcement Bureau (SEB) Visakhapatnam District organized the event.
Authorities pitched fancy tents and deployed drone cameras, loudspeakers and sound systems for the well-organized program. Disaster Response Force and fire service personnel were deployed in addition to a large number of police officers.
Print and electronic media were also invited to cover the event.
This would be the largest amount of drugs destroyed in the country at one time.
The ganja has been seized over the past two years at various locations in the northern Andhra districts of Visakhapatnam, Vizianagaram and Srikakulam as well as East Godavari.
According to the police, the ganja was seized as part of Operation Parivartan. Police registered 1,363 cases and arrested 1,500 defendants including 562 from other states.
As part of the operation, police have also destroyed cannabis plants spread over 8,500 acres in the area over the past 15 months.
The Andhra-Odisha border area is known for large-scale ganja cultivation. In recent months, police in Telangana, Maharashtra, Karnataka and other states have seized huge amounts of ganja as it was being transported from the region to different parts of the country.