Andhra Pradesh

Many taking to liquor smuggling to make ends meet

Liquor bottles seized by SEB officials at Veerulapadu in Krishna district.  

The struggle for existence and sustenance seems to be getting worse with the COVID-19 pandemic showing no signs of abatement.

Many private employees, petty traders, hotel and kirana shop owners, teachers and students are turning liquor smugglers to make ends meet.

First-time offenders

The arrest of several people on the Andhra Pradesh-Telangana borders, many of them first-time offenders, and seizure of huge quantity of liquor from their possession in the last few days vouch for it.

The police have also seized many two-wheelers, auto-rickshaws, cars and other vehicles used for transporting liquor.

“In a majority of the cases, the accused are not habitual offenders. They are smuggling liquor from the neighbouring State to feed their families during the lockdown period. The curfew-like situation prevailing in many villages for the last four months seems to have forced them to take to liquor business,” a police officer who participated in the raids said.

Making a fast buck

With liquor outlets resuming business, many villagers are taking to liquor trade.

“Villagers are investing about ₹2,000 to ₹3,000 per day and procuring liquor in Telangana, where the prices are low. On the days when they are successful in crossing the border, they are earning about ₹10,000,” said Sambasiva Rao of Gampalagudem in Krishna district.

A few people are investing more than ₹10,000 to make a fast buck.

“Officers of the Special Enforcement Bureau (SEB) have booked about 2,301 cases and arrested 3,583 smugglers since May 15 at various points,” said SEB Additional Superintendent of Police Vakul Jindal.

“At a few places, villagers are borrowing from private moneylenders just to feed their families,” says Daravathu Sakru of Mylavaram.

Vigil heightened

Krishna district Superintendent of Police M. Ravindranath Babu said strict vigil was being maintained at the borders. Apart from checking vehicles at the check-posts, the SEB and police mobile parties were patrolling round the clock to check liquor smuggling, he said.

“Smugglers were intercepted at Tiruvuru, Reddygudem, Penuganchiprolu, Mylavaram, Garikapadu, Veerulapadu, Nuzvid, Vissannapeta, Nandigama, Kanchikacherla and other places,” Mr. Ravindranath said.

“We are literally starving for the last three months. We are doing liquor business as there is no alternative,” said a vegetable vendor of Kanimerla Thanda on condition of anonymity.

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Printable version | Jan 26, 2021 8:02:18 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/many-taking-to-liquor-smuggling-to-make-ends-meet/article31996999.ece

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