THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: To deal with the situation arising from the large-scale closure of bars in the state, the police and Excise departments will adopt various measures to prevent trade of illicit liquor during the Onam season.
The departments have asked their district heads to devise customised measures to prevent the production, storage and sale of spurious liquor.
“A communication was sent to all district police superintendents on Saturday to plan operations well in advance. Special vigil will be maintained from August 14 to September 15,” said DGP K S Balasubramanian.
The police plan includes simultaneous raids at different locations, strict vigil at check-posts and inter-state roads. Focus will be on preventing storage of spirit which could be brewed for the festival season.
“Joint combing operations with the Excise Department will be conducted to check the sale of drugs and other banned intoxicants besides spurious liquor,” Balasubramanian said.
The police chief said that busy locations susceptible to the trade will be under close watch and checking for drunken driving will be intensified.
According to Joint Excise Commissioner (South Zone) K A Joseph the department has charted out a detailed plan totackle the sensitive situation in the wake of mass closure of bars. “The Onam special drive will be conducted between August 12 and September 12. Round-the-clock control rooms have already been opened in all Excise divisions in state,” Joseph said.
The department will have two “strike squads” in each district for immediate action against offences including storage of spirit, illicit brewing or sales. Joint raids will be conducted in association with the police, Revenue and Forest departments. People’s committees will be convened at the district and Assembly levels to collect their views.
Night patrolling and vehicle checking will be intensified. Surprise inspections will be held on the premises of Excise licence-holders, including bars and ayurveda manufacturing units. Announcements through mikes against spurious liquor consumption will be made at areas inhabited by low-income groups.
“A list of habitual offenders in each district has been prepared and they will be issued a warning. Preventive detention will be recommended to the RDO if need be,” Joseph said.