Kochi

Spurt in illegal brewing of liquor in Ernakulam

Excise officials to deploy drones for surveillance

The Excise Department is all set to deploy drones to check increasing instances of illegal brewing of liquor in the district following the closure of liquor outlets and bars during the lockdown.

Department officials in the district are planning to source drones from private players for the purpose. “The idea is to use them for detection of illegal brewing of liquor in inaccessible areas such as forests,” said A.S. Ranjith, Deputy Excise Commissioner, Ernakulam.

Coastal areas

Excise officials have noticed a surge in illegal brewing of arrack centred around households, especially along coastal areas, using pressure cookers and gas stoves. At least one such case has been reported from each of the 15 excise ranges in the district. Though only seven litres of illicit liquor and nine litres of arrack have been seized during the lockdown, the destruction of over 3,000 litres of raw materials point to the scale of illicit brewing taking place in the district.

“It is mostly for self-consumption and for small-scale distribution among friends and acquaintances. We have not yet come across any harmful spurious stuff. Some of them even confessed to having learnt the art of brewing spirit from social media,” said Mr. Ranjith.

Alternatives

The department suspects that not all addicts have got accustomed to a life without liquor or survived withdrawal symptoms. Some may have found alternative ways to satiate their craving for alcohol. Officials have cited the increasing popularity of arishttam among tipplers as a potential indication of the state of things. Over 300 litres of arishttam sourced mostly from independent dispensaries were seized during the lockdown, said Mr. Ranjith.

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Printable version | Jul 8, 2020 8:55:18 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/spurt-in-illegal-brewing-of-liquor-in-ernakulam/article31359390.ece

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