In view of the coming the Assembly elections in Bihar, which is a dry state, and bypolls to a few seats in Uttar Pradesh, the UP government has stepped up vigil in the border areas to clamp down on bootlegging.
Liquor smuggling from the neighbouring Haryana and Punjab is quite rampant into the adjacent districts of UP, which is then surreptitiously transported to other districts in the state and onwards too.
In the run-up to the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, the excise department in UP had seized nearly 1.7 million litres of illicit liquor, valued at more than Rs 45 crore. According to UP additional chief secretary, excise, Sanjay Bhoosreddy, the state excise and police departments has prepared a road map to set up special check posts in the border areas this time to check trade and smuggling of illicit liquor.
Besides, the officials will also monitor shops and other business establishments operating along the UP-Bihar border for possible illicit liquor trade, overcharging, etc.
Regular inspections have been mandated to check unscrupulous liquor trade and supply, which not only robs the UP government of excise revenue, but exposes consumers to health hazards of cheap and sub-standard products.
“The necessary instructions have been issued to departmental officials,” Bhoosreddy said, and also warned that overcharging of liquor products would not be tolerated; strict action would be taken against those found guilty. He pulled up officials concerned for lower revenue realisation in some districts and directed them to make extra efforts to achieve the targets for the current financial year.
Meanwhile, the excise department is also accelerating its vigilance activities against manufacturing of illicit liquor in the state. In September 2020, the excise department had arrested more than 2,800 persons and seized 328 vehicles for illicit liquor trade. A large quantity of liquor was also impounded.