Lucknow : The excise department has employed drone cameras to monitor the production, distribution, and movement of illegal liquor. This surveillance is concentrated in areas of suspicion, particularly in and around riverine zones or near open fields with brick kilns in Gorakhpur, Kushinagar, and Gonda, as per officials on Monday.

Following the conclusion of the excise department’s special crackdown on the illicit liquor trade on January 4, a significant quantity of 1.20 lakh liters of illegal liquor was confiscated, leading to 1,398 arrests. Excise Commissioner Senthil Pandian C. reported a total of 4,588 cases filed against the offenders.

“We encourage individuals to report the sale/manufacture of illicit liquor on toll-free number 14405 and WhatsApp number 9454466019, both of which are operational 24×7,” he added.

Throughout the initiative, special teams comprising revenue, police, and excise officials were established to effectively curb illicit liquor trade. Cooperation from the GST, transport departments, and the Railways was also sought for enhanced coordination.

“We maintained special vigilance on trains arriving in the state from Punjab and Haryana,” stated the excise commissioner, highlighting instances of liquor smuggling into UP from states like Haryana due to price differences.

Approximately 19,408 liters of smuggled liquor were seized from various locations. The campaign also involved monitoring suspect roadside eateries, scrap dealers, closed factories, and brick kilns.

In Bhadohi, joint teams of the excise department and police discovered 805 cartons of illegally transported foreign liquor in a container. Four individuals arrested at the scene later revealed the liquor was being transported from Punjab to Jharkhand.

In Sonbhadra, 690 cartons of foreign liquor with ‘for sale in Punjab’ labels were seized, leading to four arrests. Similar seizures and arrests occurred in Lucknow, Mathura, Aligarh, and other locations involving liquor manufactured in Punjab.