In the state excise department’s drive to involve people in its fight against bootleggers and liquor smugglers that began on September 15, Pune has topped the list by registering 120 complaints on WhatsApp out of a total of 770 such complaints registered across the state. Of the total of 770 complaints on WhatsApp, 520 are being addressed while 249 are pending.
As part of its drive, the excise department had launched last month a WhatsApp number where people can register complaints about bootlegging and liquor smuggling. Since it began, the initiative started by excise commissioner V Radha and her colleagues has drawn a huge response. The name of a complainant is kept confidential under this.
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“It’s a win-win situation for both the people and the department. Alert citizens are letting us know of these activities and we in turn are able to initiate action. Pune, being an alert city, has given the maximum response,” said a excise official. “Of the 120 complaints from Pune, we have initiated action in 76 while 44 are pending. This means a 63.33 per cent redressal,” the official said.
Giving details of the drive, excise officials said people could also report any suspicious activity on a toll-free number without revealing their identity. Other measures include plans to come up with a mobile app and an online complaint management system where similar tip-offs can be provided.
“We have got response from across the state. There is a coordinating officer at the control room who passes the information to the division concerned along with the complainant’s name which is kept confidential. After verification, raids are carried out and complaints are registered,” said an official, adding that they had been able to achieve 100 per cent redressal in several districts, including in Thane and Mumbai.
The department has also provided GPS-fitted vehicles to its officials in districts so that the vehicle closest to the spot for which a complaint has been received from the control room can be alerted for conducting raids swiftly. Earlier, the department had carried out a mapping exercise to identify habitual bootleggers and offenders. The data would be shared with all the district collectors and the local police.