THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Onam special drive of the Excise Department to check the sale of illicit liquor and drugs has started showing results with the officials registering nine cases. “The district is given special focus as it shares borders with Tamil Nadu. Officers from other districts have been pooled in to the district,” said Joint Excise Commissioner (South Zone) K A Joseph.
He said the officers of various ranks drawn from Kottayam and Pathanamthitta districts have been deputed to the temporary special teams.
The district has four special teams and two strike forces to conduct surveillance and inspections. The strike force, constituted for immediate response, comprises one excise inspector and preventive officer each and three guards.
A 24-hour control room was also opened as part of the drive launched on August 12.
“The control rooms have been proven successful with several members of the public tipping off on illegal sales of alcohol and drugs,” Joseph said. The control room maintains a register in which the complaints and follow-up action are recorded.
The officials said they have stepped up vigil at the 16 border checkposts. The surveillance and patrolling in border areas are supervised by the Assistant Excise Commissioner, who conducts personal visits on a daily basis. All the border roads, including the less-used ones, are under the surveillance of mobile teams and plainclothesmen.
The Excise Department conducted three raids in association with the Police and Revenue Departments at Aryanad. Some pockets of the Aryanad village were once infamous for illegal brewing of country liquor. The officials said they had plans to raids forest fringes in association with the Forest Department.
1.5 kg Ganja Seized
The latest among the nine cases registered as part of the Onam drive was the seizure of 1.5 kg ganja from Parassala on Monday. A woman hailing from Tamil Nadu, who acted as a go-between for ganja mafia, and a Keralite retailer were arrested in the case. “The woman was a carrier and she admitted to conducting similar assignments in the past. The arrest was based on tip-off,” said Excise Inspector R Mohankumar, who led the team which effected the arrest. The other members of the team included preventive officers K Ratnakaran and V N Mahesh, civil excise officers N Subhashkumar, P S Baiju, K R Krishnakumar and P N Shajikumar, women civil excise officers Anitha and Salini and driver Sanalkumar.