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Illegal Liquor Smuggling: Why Liquor from Arunachal Pradesh flooding Assam

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On Friday too, Guwahati police arrested two most wanted liquor smugglers from the Hatigaon area.
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Illegal Liquor Smuggling: Why Liquor from Arunachal Pradesh flooding Assam
Illegal Liquor Smuggling: Why Liquor from Arunachal Pradesh flooding Assam

Guwahati: Illegal liquor from Arunachal Pradesh continued to sneak into the state despite the state government claiming to have taken several steps to keep vigilance on such illegal smuggling. For the last couple of days, Assam police have recovered a huge quantity of illegal liquor and arrested several persons for illegally transporting liquor from Arunachal Pradesh into the state.

While two persons were arrested in Kamrup district on Sunday for illegal smuggling of liquor from Arunachal Pradesh along with some 1,000 cartons of liquors, Assam police recovered a huge quantity of illegal liquor worth more than Rs 15 lakh from a truck and apprehended two persons in Biswanath district on Saturday too.

On Friday too, Guwahati police arrested two most wanted liquor smugglers from the Hatigaon area.

Why liquor from Arunachal Pradesh are being smuggled?

The price of liquor made in Arunachal Pradesh was lower than in Assam due to tax relaxation and other factors leading to massive smuggling of such liquor into the state.

Moreover, many Indian-made foreign liquors (IMFL) were being packed in plastic bottles instead of glass bottles in Arunachal Pradesh too making them easy for illegal racketeers to take advantage of the situation.

Earlier, the excise department in their seizures also found that IMFL bottles from Arunachal Pradesh have fake labels and caps.

Besides, in many areas of Assam bordering Arunachal Pradesh, there were no liquor shops within a 10-20-kilometer area leading to the smuggling. To meet the demand of consumers, these racketeers have not only smuggling IMFL but also country liquors from Arunachal Pradesh through illegitimate means.

Assam government’s steps to counter illegal IMFL smuggling:

In August last year, an Assam Assembly committee had found that the state excise department did not take “sufficient steps” to prevent illegal liquor trade along the border areas and suggested forming an armed battalion of its own to control “accelerating” unlawful activities.

The Departmentally Related Standing Committee on Development (A) Departments of Assam Legislative Assembly, in its report for Excise Department for 2021-22, had also said that many set rules were being flouted and asked the authorities to enforce them strictly.

In a bid to check the illegal smuggling of liquor from the neighbouring state of Arunachal Pradesh, the state government has asked the excise department to set up temporary check posts along the state’s boundary with Arunachal Pradesh.

The chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma while reviewing the excise department’s work had directed the department to set up additional numbers of check posts on temporary basis to check the menace.

Recently, the state’s excise department has also started a survey in every district of the state. The purpose of the survey was to identify areas, where IMFL ‘on’ shops or liquor shops, can be opened as per the demand.

State excise minister Parimal Suklabaidya said, “There are areas where the illegal supply of liquor from neighbouring states like Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya are impacting our revenue. The survey has also found areas where locals have demanded to close down wine shops. But the entire report of the survey is yet to be completed. Based on the report, the excise department will suggest a plan to the state cabinet.”

The state has some 1,234 licensed IMFL liquor shops and 996 licensed bars of which the highest, 218, are in Guwahati and on its outskirts. Besides, there are 341 country spirit shops too while at least 44 brand distilleries functioning in the state.

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