Coimbatore

Police step up action against IMFL smuggling, illegal brewing

Prohibition Enforcement Wing personnel conducting drone surveillance at Kattanjimalai in Coimbatore district on Saturday.  

With the lockdown to be extended for another week and Tasmac outlets remaining closed, the demand for liquor has also gone up in the district.

According to the police, many people venture into the smuggling of Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) from other States like Karnataka, sale of illegally brewed arrack and tapping of toddy from coconut and palmyra palms.

Coimbatore Rural Superintendent of Police S. Selvanagarathinam said that more than 2,000 cases have been registered in connection with the above offences since the lockdown started in the second wave of the pandemic.

“The Prohibition Enforcement Wing (PEW) has intensified checks to prevent illegal sale of liquor during the lockdown. Vehicles checks are being done to check smuggling IMFL from Karnataka and toddy from Kerala. We are also keeping a tab on old offenders,” he said.

Social workers say tapping of toddy was happening in large coconut groves in places like Sulur, Sulthanpet and Karamadai. The illegal activity has been happening on the pretext of tapping neera or padhaneer, a non-alcoholic beverage.

Neera or Padhaneer is made by applying lime inside the pot in which the sap from the palms gets collected. The sap becomes alcoholic beverage toddy if the pot is not coated with lime,” explained a tapper.

With the police tightening vehicle checks to prevent the flow of IMFL from other States, many in rural areas have resorted to distilling of arrack from wash – a fermented mix of widely made of jaggery, water, fruits, spices and other ingredients.

To avoid the police and others getting a whiff of the stench during the fermentation and distillation process, the activity is done in remote locations, farm houses and poramboke lands, say sources with the PEW.

On Saturday, the PEW of Periyanaickenpalayam conducted drone surveillance at Kattanjimalai, a government poramboke land which was recently declared reserved land by the district collector, to check illegal brewing.

A team consisting Deputy Superintendent of Police Sundararajan, inspector Balamurugan, sub-inspectors Rajaprabhu and Chinnakamanan checked 10 to 12 km area using a drone of Coimbatore Rural Police.

The Forest Department is also checking illegal brewing in forest limits and peripheries during regular patrols.

"If the activity is found within forest limits, we detain the persons involved and hand them over to the PEW with the seized articles," said S. Selvaraj, forest range officer, Periyanaickenpalayam.


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Printable version | Jul 25, 2021 5:32:24 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Coimbatore/police-step-up-action-against-imfl-smuggling-illegal-brewing/article34801105.ece

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