Law,but little enforcement

Even as prohibition is in force in Gujarat,there is presently no centralised agency dedicated exclusively to its enforcement.

Written by Express News Service | Ahmedabad | Published: July 11, 2009 2:40 am

Even as prohibition is in force in Gujarat,there is presently no centralised agency dedicated exclusively to its enforcement. The state government had in July 2006 disbanded the enforcement wing of the prohibition department and 1,343 policemen,who were on deputation with it,were asked to resume their duty with the regular police force. The ‘toothless’ department now has only excise officials.

The enforcement wing of the prohibition department had only 69 operational police stations situated in all districts and six striking forces,headed by three Deputy Commissioner of Police-rank officers,dedicated exclusively to enforce the prohibition rules. It is now left up to the police stations to enforce prohibition laws — be it sale,trafficking,consumption and even brewing of liquor — in addition to the other policing duties. A senior police official admitted that the police are already overburdened and prohibition-related work gets neglected. “It is taken up in a large-scale only before elections,festivals,or sensitive times” said a senior police officer. While liquor was prohibited in Gujarat from 1961,it was the Shankersinh Vaghela government that had set up the prohibition enforcement wing in 1997 to reduce the burden on the police. It was also seen as a move to reduce corruption and have stricter enforcement of law in the state.

While disbanding the department enforcement wing,in 2006,the state government had cited “lack of coordination” and “duplication of work” between the two departments (state police and prohibition) as the reason behind the move.

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