KOCHI: As demand for illicit liquor is expected to rise during the festive season, the Excise Department is planning to launch stringent measures to prevent the flow of such liquor and narcotic drugs to Ernakulam district. This step comes in the wake of reports of illicit spirit being smuggled into Kerala from neighbouring states through land and sea routes to bypass checkpoints and patrols.
Inspections will be conducted mainly at toddy parlours, bars, foreign liquor outlets and shops that sell arishta. There will be round-the-clock patrolling on roads. Control rooms will be set up in all 14 districts. The department will also intensify search operations in tourist destinations and will conduct surprise raids on boats and houseboats. The department has also received tip-offs about the likelihood of rave parties being organised and synthetic drugs being smuggled to Kochi from other states.
Checking of vehicles will be intensified to prevent the transportation of liquor through roads. Patrolling of vehicles will be intensified along key roads, especially during nights. There will be special surveillance squads deployed at railway stations. Those who carry more than the permissible quantity of liquor will also be dealt with.
Joint inspections will be conducted with the help of the Police, Revenue and Forest Departments to prevent the brewing of illicit liquor, consumption of liqour in public places and brewing of wine. Two strike force units have been set up to deal with emergency situations. The strike force units will conduct night patrols in various parts of the district to prevent the sale of spurious and smuggled liquor during Christmas and New Year. The Excise Department is planning it as a month-long special drive that will go on beyond the New Year. The drive will cover all circle office limits. Habitual offenders will be dealt with strictly and cases will be registered as per law.
Members of the public can share information regarding suspicious liquor trade confidentially with the excise deputy commissioner (0484-2390657, 9447178059), assistant excise commissioner (0494-2627480, 9496002867), district control room (0484-2390657, 9447178059), excise circle office (0484-2393121, 94400069552), Kochi office (0484-2215120, 9400069554), Kunnathunadu (0484-2591203, 9400069559) and Kothamangalam (0485-2824419, 9400069562).