Shivaji Raje

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Chandrapur declared ‘alcohol-free,’ but illicit liquor poses challenge

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Ban on alcohol does not seem to have helped curb the drinking habit in two “dry” districts of Maharashtra. As Chandrapur in the Vidarbha region became the third “alcohol-free” district on Tuesday, Excise Department data show that the quantity of illicit liquor seized from the other two “dry” districts has increased successively in the past four years.

The Home Department has cautioned the government against imposing prohibition, citing inadequate manpower to stop the possible inflow of illicit liquor.

The Excise Department seized illicit liquor estimated at Rs. 2 crore from Wardha and Gadchiroli, two other dry districts, both in Vidarbha, in the past four years. More than 500 people have been arrested and 2,000 cases registered.

A report from the department has warned the government that “since alcohol is freely available in neighbouring areas [in Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh], the possibility of illicit and adulterated liquor reaching Chandrapur cannot be dismissed.”

The Home Department, in its report, asked the government to consider banning alcohol in neighbouring Yavatmal and Nagpur and even in Adilabad in Andhra Pradesh to stop the inflow of illicit alcohol, for the successful implementation of the decision in Chandrapur.

Finance Minister and Guardian Minister of Chandrapur Sudhir Munguntiwar said he was ready to resign, had the Cabinet delayed the decision. He had declined to occupy his official residence till the time Chandrapur was declared a dry district.

“It was my promise to the people of my constituency and I have fulfilled it,” he said.


INDIA | 08:50 AM IST DEC 16, 2011

Maharashtra: hooch worth Rs 16 cr seized in 2011

Excise officials fear Mumbai may see spurious liquor flooding the market due to the high taxes on liquor.


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