For the first time, the Excise Department will impart training to its officials to handle arms and ammunition. The initiative is aimed at strengthening the enforcement activities and to counter the armed attack from anti-social elements while conducting raids.
According to the Excise Department officials, the training programme will be held at the Excise Academy in Thrissur from next Monday.
“The sole purpose of the initiative is to teach the personnel handle rifles and revolvers. Till now, there was no provision to use arms. In the first batch, the officials of officer rank will be trained by the arms and ammunition experts of the Kerala Police. The programme will last five days.
In a year, the department is planning to make all officials experts in handling revolvers,” said an Excise Department official.
The officials in the rank of inspector and above will be armed with revolvers and pistols. The department has purchased about 17,000 bullets and 9,000 revolvers from the ammunition factory in Pune. It will also bring in rifles for the remaining officials when they complete training,” says the official. He added that the department aimed to take strong action against illegal liquor mafia.
In 2009, the Excise Department had bought 110 pistols and 101 revolvers from the Gun and Shell Factory, Kolkata, which was issued to the officers in the rank of Assistant Commissioner and above.
However, they couldn’t use them as there was no provision. They were also not issued bullets. “Earlier, the officials feared to conduct sensitive operations as the anti-social elements possessed advanced weapons,” the official said.