MYSURU: Ever since the election commission (EC) announced the dates of state assembly elections, construction works of houses and other buildings have been disrupted. Reason: The building contractors are alleging that, the laborers working at construction sites have to sweat from morning to evening to earn a daily wage ranging between Rs 300 to Rs 700, many laborers have stopped coming to work in construction sites and have started campaigning for candidates contesting elections for free food, liquor and money.
Ravi, a Hinkal-based building contractor in the city said these laborers are campaigning few hours everyday to make money easily by campaigning for aspiring MLAs and the laborers are paid Rs 500 within few hours by campaigning and also political parties are providing free food and free liquor, many laborers have the habit of drinking everyday even during non-election season.
Vijaendra G and a group of contractors alleged “The owners of the property who have given a stipulated time for us to finish the construction of houses are scolding us as the construction works is going on in slow pace due to shortage of laborers, these owners are angered over us as they have to do the house warming ceremony on a auspicious day advised by their respective astrologers.”
Shortage of liquor in MRP wine shops and bars has frustrated customers and liquor outlet owners in the district
More than 50% of the shelves in some liquor outlets are seen empty, there is acute shortage of low-priced liquor, only a pretty good number of costly drinks like scotch and other high-priced varieties of liquor are available in these liquor outlets for the past couple of weeks. This was found when TNIE did a reality check and the owners of these liquor outlets are so frustrated due to decline in the income, they didn't even allow to take the picture of shelves.
A group of wine shop and bar owners, who don't want to disclose their names said the “Excise Department (ED) is not supplying liquor as per our requirements following elections, customers who drink daily in the local bars (not pubs, star hotels and resorts) hails for poor, lower and middle class families and they prefer low priced or average priced liquor, only liquor with such prices have more demand every day. Our customers are frustrated due to non-availability of low-priced and average-priced liquor.”
The sales of liquor has drastically come down, because not everyone can afford to buy highly priced drink like scotch and others, they said.
“This April and May, we are supplying the same quantity of liquor cases to each liquor outlets, which was supplied to them last year during the same two months as per their respective demands. We are supplying excessive liquor as per the demands presented by bar owners presented before us. We are doing this for the first time in the district during election times, because during election times, consumption of liquor will be very high, to prevent incidents like bar brawls, to maintain law and order, and to prevent bar owners from charging excessive money to sell liquor as the demand for drinks will be more during poll times, so we have taken this decision.” - An officer of ED
From the day EC announced election dates to April 29, 2018, ED has registered cases against over 100 bars and has closed three bars for violating the model code of conduct.
95 cases booked for transporting liquor illegally.
Four cars, three auto-rickshaws, and 31 bikes transporting liquor illegally have been seized.
As per the rules, apart from liquor license holders, an individual cannot keep more than 2.3 liters at home or in any other place.
Liquor can be sold only from 10am to 10pm.
ED arrested 264 people, who have indulged in illegal selling of liquor in 2014-15 (from April to March), 520 people in 2015-16 and in 2016-17 it increased to 635.
Though number of arrests and cases have increased, the amount of liquor seized every year has been fluctuating in 2016-17, the department seized 518.7 liters, in 2015-16 - 2,049.7 liters and 569.1 liters in 2014-15. During the raids, the department has also seized vehicles used to transport liquor illegally.
2014-15: 2,382 raids were conducted and 6 vehicles seized, 2015-16: 2,748 raids and 4 vehicles seized, and 2016-17: 2,541 raids and 11 vehicles seized.