Lifestyle & Belief

On workfare in India? Find that Ganja


An Indian Sadhu (Hindu holy man) smokes marijuana in Kolkata, 10 January 2006.

Destitute rural laborers in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh have a new boondoggle: Uprooting weed.

According to the Indian Express, the north Indian state has detailed laborers employed by the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS) to fight the drug problem by finding and destroying illegal cannabis plants.

The stuff grows wild and is practically ubiquitous, of course. But the target of this drive is the hybrid variety used by villagers to make the world famous "Malana cream" -- often touted as the world's finest hashish, as GlobalPost discovered in 2009. 

On Thursday, the Kullu police destroyed nearly 6,000 acres of cannabis plantation in the district, the paper said. More than 250 policemen were engaged in the job.

Of the total 17,495 villages in Himachal Pradesh, at least 865 are engaged in illegal charas and opium cultivation, according to police. The districts of Shimla, Mandi, Chamba and Kangra could also follow the example of Kullu and Manali if they are successful, the paper said.