Telangana

Distance doesn’t matter to tipplers in tribal belt

A newly shifted liquor retail shop near Utnoor.

A newly shifted liquor retail shop near Utnoor.   | Photo Credit: S. HARPALSINGH

Move to relocate liquor shops in Adilabad brings in smuggling, and belt shops

The figures pertaining to liquor sales in the first 12 days of November, the month when the new excise year began, show a ‘healthy’ increase in the tribal belt in Adilabad and Kumram Bheem Asifabad districts. This is certainly in tune with the last few years’ trend in alcohol consumption but seems odd as the liquor retail shops in the area, as many as 18 of them, were shifted from their existing locations owing to opposition from local tribal people.

Sale of liquor through retail shops under Utnoor and Ichoda Excise Stations in the first 12 days of November this year was worth about ₹1.4 crore and that through shops under Ichoda Station was over ₹2.2 crore against ₹98.16 lakh through shops in Utnoor and 1.45 crore respectively for the corresponding period last year.

This shows that the enthusiasm of tipplers has not diminished despite the increase in distance of shops.

Sources in the Prohibition and Excise Department, however, point out that the increase in sale is because of the retailers drawing ‘extra’ quantum against their quota as is the practice during the initial months of a new excise year. The figures shown as consumption actually relate to drawal of liquor quantity, the sources added.

“We shifted five shops under Utnoor excise station to other locations within the Agency area and six shops under Ichoda excise station to locations outside the Agency area owing to demand of the tribal people who did so as per their right under the Provisions of Panchayat (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act,” pointed out Adilabad District Prohibition and Excise Officer S. Ravinder Raju.

The tribals, especially women, demanded shifting of liquor shops in order to wean away locals from addiction to alcohol in the months preceding the new excise year.

Illegal trade

The move to relocate shops from Jainoor and Kerameri mandals of KB Asifabad and Narnoor in Adilabad has brought in liquor smuggling and its sale through illegal vends, popularly known as belt shops. The tribal women have been protesting against this development too. The mandals of Jainoor, Sirpur (U) and Lingapur, located in the heart of the tribal belt, are more prone to smuggling of liquor, and already one case has been registered in this regard. “There is also the danger of illicitly distilled liquor making a come back in the area, which has less of supervision owing to its remoteness, and thus defeating the cause of weaning away people from alcohol consumption,” cautioned a tribal community leader.

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Printable version | Apr 1, 2020 11:37:14 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/telangana/distance-doesnt-matter-to-tipplers-in-tribal-belt/article30070038.ece

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