VISAKHAPATNAM: While it is not strange for authorities to register cases against illicit brewing of distilled (ID) liquor in rural and remote agencies, it is kind of weird that such crimes are being committed in the city.
The free availability of intoxicants in residential areas has created panic among the general public, particularly the parents of vulnerable school and college-going children, who can be easy prey.
“We are already facing a herculean task to keep our children away from social media platforms, which are as worse as any addiction. The availability of drugs is nothing short of a panic situation for us,” said Prabhakar, a parent from MVP Colony.
Regular boozers opine that the soaring prices of IML spirits could have fuelled the illegal practice of producing ID liquor and smuggling of ganja into the city.
“Although we splurged on liquor from wine shops, the high was not to our expectation. We changed choices and we are now into ID liquor,” said a fisherman in Bheemili.
Special Enforcement Bureau (SEB) sources said that the ID liquor making units have been found in Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation (GVMC) limits, mostly in the city outskirts. SEB officials seized ID liquor units at Pendurthi, Bheemili and Gajuwaka circles of GVMC limits. In the latest raid at Gajuwaka limits on Friday, around 140 litres of ID and 3,500 litres of FS wash were seized from the unit run by two persons.
On condition of anonymity, a high-level executive committee official informed Deccan Chronicle that not only ID liquor preparation, but even ganja consumption has risen due to the exorbitant costs of IML brands.
N N Raju, president of All India Psychiatric Society, said it was not possible to suddenly quit any bad habit, be it smoking, drinking or marijuana.
“The government should rationalise IML liquor price and plan an organised procedure to check drug and liquor addiction. De-addiction centres could come in handy,” Raju told DC.
A member of the executive body on liquor policy, on condition of anonymity, admitted that the soaring prices of IML liquor and availability of sub-standard liquor at government-run shops were the prime causes for mushrooming of ID liquor units and ganja smuggling rackets in the state.
“We have already brought this issue to the notice of Chief Minister Y.S.Jagan Mohan Reddy. We will shortly review the situation of SEB activities and ganja trade,” the member told this newspaper.
Vizag City Scenario
* From May 16, 2020 to October 28, 2021
– 187 ID liquor cases
– 90 accused in ID arrested
– 731 litres of ID liquor seized
– 30510 litres of FJ wash destroyed
– 2616 cases against belt-shops
– 55 Ganja cases registered
– 105 Ganja accused arrested
– 3615 kgs of ganja seized