In a bid to go after rampant manufacture and sale of illicitly distilled liquor, the Andhra Pradesh Government is finalising a strategy to make the State free of it by April-end.
The Excise Department has already intensified its efforts to rein in the well-entrenched trade in the last two months.
Officials admit that the drive against illicit liquor has not been effective over the years for the simple reason that though thousands of cases are booked, they are not be taken to their logical conclusion. “Thus, there is no deterrence for those indulging in hooch trade. However, we are now planning and finalising a strategy to rid the State of ID liquor through a two-pronged strategy — drive against illicit liquor and strict regulation,” official sources told The Hindu .
The department is gearing up to make a presentation before Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu to expose the roots of illicit liquor trade and how the kingpins get away by using political connections. Once the strategy has the approval of the Chief Minister, a clear signal will go against political interference as in the case of red sanders, sources say. As a first step, the department has involved 200 Inspector of Circles and they have been keeping an eye on 1,991 locations where ID liquor is either manufactured or sold. The department has also been making district-wise assessment on the illicit trade.
“We are now in the process of preparing dossiers on the persons involved in the illegal business,” sources disclosed.
The department began with binding over of persons involved in the ID liquor business with a surety of Rs.50,000. If such persons indulged in the offence again, they would be taken into custody. Clear instructions were given to the district-level officers to track the kingpins behind the trade, apart from rounding off those commissioned by the big players to brew illicit liquor involving tribal people and other vulnerable sections, sources said.
The PD Act would be slapped against repeat offenders, and for this case files have already been opened in some districts. “In the first phase, Kurnool and Prakasam will be rid of ID liquor by February-end. The next target is to declare East Godavari, Visakhapatnam, Anantapur, Chittoor ID-free by April-end,” sources said.