The Maharashtra excise department plans to induct a squad of 40 dogs to sniff out smuggled liquor that enters Maharashtra from Goa and Daman.
Excise Commissioner Kantilal Umap told The Indian Express, “We have drafted a plan to induct a dog squad. We will send the proposal to Mantralaya for approval. These dogs will be deployed at our border check posts around Goa and Daman. The dogs will sniff out smuggled liquor and put a stop to the revenue loss that the state faces due to smuggled liquor.”
He added that the department is hoping to induct Belgian Shepherds into the squad.
Due to low excise rates, prices of liquor is comparatively lesser in Goa and Daman when compared to Maharashtra. The price differential has made smuggling of liquor from these two places a lucrative proposition, said officials.
An excise officer said: “These days, the number of cars coming into the state has increased and advanced models have a lot of areas where liquor can be hid. Hence, employing dogs will help, as they can sniff out liquor with great ease.”
Officials said that there are eight to 10 routes that one can use to come from Goa to Sindhudurg. “Only one is manned by us. Similarly, there are six routes from Daman to Maharashtra and only one is manned,” said an official.
Yatin Sawant, Joint Commissioner (Excise) said: “The exact loss to the exchequer can’t be quantified… After procuring the dogs, they will be trained to sniff out liquor.”
Officials said they would first train the dogs and then build kennels in Sindhudurg and Palghar districts for them. Bihar and some states in the north east already have dog squads to detect liquor, they added.
While the state has 24 check posts on all borders, excise personnel at currently deployed at only at 11 posts. “Very soon, excise personnel would be posted at the remaining check posts,” said an official.