TIRUCHY: On Sunday, yet another gang was arrested for brewing illicit liquor in the district. Over 2,000 litres liquor have been seized across the district in the past two weeks. Even though police have increased vigil, illicit liquor continues to be available. While doctors have said the illegal liquor can turn toxic, social activists are urging the government to open TASMAC shops at least once in a week to stop the hooch trade.
On Saturday night, the Prohibition and Enforcement Wing based on information conducted a raid on Manikandan's farm in Puthur village of Pachamalai hill station. The team found three barrels buried on the far side of the farm. An inspection revealed 600 litres of illicit liquor had been kept in the barrels for fermentation. Later, two more persons from the locality were arrested by a police team on Sunday based on Manikandan's information. This is the fifth such gang to be caught in the Pachamalai hill area in the past two weeks, apart from several others in the Vathalai area of Jeeyapuram, Thiruverambur and Manikandam and several districts in the central zone.
Thuraiyur resident Saravanan said, "Following the increased demand for liquor after the closure of TASMAC outlets, many have turned to illicit liquor and toddy in Thuraiyur. People, especially youth, from various parts of the district can be seen arriving at Thuraiyur to purchase the illicit liquor. Though police have nabbed several gangs, many are yet to be caught."
Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Government Hospital Medical Superintendent Dr Yeganathan said,"The spirit content in such illicit liquor is very high. Consuming such liquor may lead to death, affect the brain or cause permanent vision loss." He advised people not to consume such liquor and if they have withdrawal symptoms, special treatment and counselling would be provided free in all government hospitals.
Speaking to TNIE, Ziaul Haque, Superintendent of Police, said, "We are following three methods to curb illicit liquor movement in the district. First, a special team has been deputed to investigate such activity and also to catch those involved in the offence. Second, as hilly and forest areas are being used to bury barrels for fermentation, a drone team is being used to monitor these areas and also banks of lakes. Third, stinger teams in plainclothes would be constantly investigating and collecting details of such incidents."
He added police have organised a special awareness campaign for tipplers as well as special programmes asking people to report any such incidents to police.
He added that on average, police here are seizing 300 litres of illicit liquor daily. He said using records, the department is tracking down all possible history-sheeters who know how to brew liquor in the district and keeping a watch on them.