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Himachal's illegal Charas farms


Iram Mirza,CNN-IBN
Jun 20, 2007 at 09:09pm IST

Kullu valley: CNN-IBN's Special Investigation Team brings you this first ever look at over 3,000 acres of Charas (Cannabis) fields that make Himachal Pradesh a key supplier of the drug to the world drug mafia.

Local drug dealers say that entire villages are employed in producing Charas - villages that don't even exist on the map!

These 'drug villages' are often given names that are the same as other villages so as to confuse the police.

CNN-IBN SIT: So you are saying where these fields are, there are villages as well?

Local drug dealer: Yes. Mallana has a village called Kutla. There is a new village called Kutla too.

The police on their part concede that these remote fields are hard to find. The fields are manned at a height where it's difficult for the enforcement agencies to operate and safe from the police, the local drug mafia is thriving.

And it's not just the locals who own fields. Even foreign drug dealers have their own illegal Charas fields. This was confirmed to the SIT by a local drug dealer.

CNN-IBN SIT: Do foreigners have fields up there?

Local drug dealer: Yes, they have their own fields and not one but tens of them. They have everything up there in their fields.

CNN-IBN SIT: Really? But how can foreigners buy land up there? They cannot buy land?

Local drug dealer: They come here every year, they pay a lot of money to the workers and so the owners of the field rent their fields out to foriegners.

CNN-IBN SIT: If I want to buy a field up there, how much should I pay?

Local drug dealer: For one acre that yields 40 kg, you pay Rs 10,000.

Filming undercover with drug tourists at a rave party, the SIT was even told that the police is hand in glove with them.

CNN-IBN SIT: Isn't there any police trouble?

Israeli tourist: No. The military police sometimes comes and burns one field. That doesn't matter for there are 20,000 fields out there. Malana produces 800 kg of Charas per season. Out of that, 80 kg comes to Israel.

Clearly the risk is worth the return. A gram of Charas worth Rs 25 in Kullu, fetches Rs 3,000 in Holland, which essentially means that the Hebrew and Italian signboards in Kullu are probably there to stay.

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