KOZHIKODE: Even as the Excise Department has declared ‘red alert’ to intensify its enforcement in the wake of the closure of 418 bars in the state, the lack of wireless facility is making operations difficult for the department.
Sources with the department maintained that though the authorities had chalked out a plan of exclusive wireless facility as part of the modernisation of the force at a cost `2 crore, it has not materialised yet owing to technical constraints.
With the introduction of exclusive wireless facility, the over-dependence of the department on private mobile networks could be reduced to a large extent. In the same way, details on various enforcement drives and flash-checking could be communicated through the wireless network, which would reduce chances of information leakage.
However, the department failed to complete the project in 2013-14 financial year, due to the lack of time.
The telecommunication wing of the Police Department had started a field study over the feasibility of introducing an exclusive wireless network for the Excise.
The initiative was part of a modernisation drive planned by the department in 2011, which would ensure wireless coverage across the state.
However, the Excise Department itself took over the assignment of the field study later, as the Police Department’s telecommunication wing could not complete the job due to technical reasons. But still the project remains in cold storage. Meanwhile, on April 4 this year, the Excise Department declared red alert in the state taking into consideration the situation prevailing after the closure of 418 bars.
The department has opened control rooms and intensified the patrolling in the districts bordering Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.
“In this situation, a safe and uninterrupted communication service would be essential for the Excise sleuths. However, there is no move from the top-level to implement wireless facility,” said an official with the department.
Right now, the officers on field duty relies upon mobile phones for communicating to the district units.
This may sometimes create hardships as they could not make communication in rural areas where there is no mobile phone network coverage.
Minister for Excise K Babu had earlier said that the government would take steps to modernise the Excise Department.