No more liquor bribes, Election Commission wants its voters sober

 Apart from money and food, a quarter or more of liquor prominently figures in the list of things used by netas to bribe voters.

Published: 14th October 2018 08:17 AM  |   Last Updated: 14th October 2018 08:17 AM   |  A+A-

Election Commission

Election Commission of India (File | PTI)

By Express News Service

HYDERABAD: Apart from money and food, a quarter or more of liquor prominently figures in the list of things used by netas to bribe voters. To control stocking and distribution of liquor to influence voters, vigil on wine shops, distilleries, breweries, Gudumba production is increased by Telangana Prohibition and Excise department officials.

Since there is a possibility to smuggle in non-duty paid liquor from neighbouring States, mobile patrolling teams will check luggage in tourist buses, and other vehicles. While action plan is charted and vigil will increase, what if someone stores liquor bottles in advance? 

Addressing a press conference here on Saturday, principal secretary and commissioner of Prohibition and Excise Somesh Kumar said that according to a format given by Election Commission of India, they are going to identify and monitor places which can be misused to store liquor in bulk, such as old go-downs and poultry farms.

“Every district and head office has a control room which will be open 24x7 from next week. If there is an issue, anybody can dial numbers of the control room or toll-free number (1800-425-2523) and bring the issue to our notice. For every district, the Prohibition and Excise officer is appointed as nodal officer,” Somesh Kumar said at the press conference after conducting a meeting with 90 Excise officials. “Apart from daily reporting, we also requested officers to maintain local level tracking and intelligence system,” said Rajat Kumar, on the sidelines of the press meet. 

19 check points in the State will be streamlined, Somesh Kumar said. On sidelines of press conference held by the Prohibition and Excise officials,  Telangana State Chief Electoral Officer Rajat Kumar said that he has asked the Excise officials to sternly deal with trafficking of narcotics such as marijuana and cocaine as its misuse during elections is a major concern. 

High spirits: IMFL sales increase by 11.5 per cent
During the 2014 elections, around 2.8 lakh litres of Indian-made foreign liquor (IMFL) and beer was seized in Telangana region. Now, with more than a month left for the elections, did anyone stock liquor bottles in advance? Principal Secretary and Commissioner of Prohibition and Excise Somesh Kumar indicated that chances for the possibility are less.

Percentage increase in IMFL sale from August (14.81 per cent) to September (17per cent) this year is over 2 per cent. While 141.8 lakhs of IMFL cases were sold from April to September of 2017-18, 158.1 lakh cases were sold in 6 months in 2018-19, which indicates an increase of 11.5 per cent. In case of beer, 223.97 lakh cases were sold from April to September in 2017-18, and 258.34 in 2018-19, which is an increase of 15.35 per cent. Officials said that they study the number of cases sold in months preceding and during last elections and observe if there is any unusual spike in procurement and sale 

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