The Excise Department has decided to open control rooms in the district to prevent the trade of illicit liquor during the Sabarimala pilgrimage season and other festival seasons.

Deputy Excise Commissioner M. P. Varghese, who is also the convenor of the district-level Janakeeya committee, said that at a meeting convened by District Collector Ashok Kumar Singh on Monday, decision has been taken to conduct raids in the border areas of Kumily. Inspection at the check posts will also be intensified during the pilgrimage season.

Mr. Varghese said that cases of brewing illegal hooch were mainly reported from Kattappana and Udumpanchola areas.

He said that strict monitoring and awareness campaigns would be launched in Adimaly and Rajakkad areas where it was reported that liquor agents were active.

It was also decided at the meeting to strengthen raids to prevent the cultivation of ganja in the forest areas, he said. The Excise Department has received complaints that agents who stay at hotels in Munnar and Marayur sell narcotic items. The managements of hotels and lodges have been directed to monitor and report any such illegal activities happening in their hotels.

He said that the increase in sale reported at the Indian Made Foreign Liquor shops was an indicator that the use of illegal liquor in the High Ranges had come down. But isolated instances of brewing of hooch have been reported. Patrolling and monitoring will be strengthened in areas, which are known havens of illegal hooch brewing.

He said that since the formation of Janakeeya committees, the drive against illegal liquor could be made more effective.

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