Updated: September 25, 2021 8:31:27 pm
A partial prohibition on liquor in Andhra Pradesh has resulted in illicit brewing of alcohol and cross-border smuggling and the high number of police cases are choking the local courts.
The Special Enforcement Bureau, which was set up in May last, and police in various districts, have so far registered 1,20,822 cases of alcohol smuggling and manufacturing and arrested 1,25,202 persons. Authorities also seized 24,491 vehicles. “All the cases are piling up in courts and there is a backlog. It is a huge burden on the courts and the investigating officers. The number of seized vehicles is also piling up at various police stations,” a top police official told The Indian Express.
As a part of its plan to implement total prohibition in the state, the AP government increased the prices of alcohol to control the consumption and one-third of the liquor outlets were closed apart from over 40,000 illicit liquor shops.
Recently at a review meeting, Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy said due to these measures, liquor sales have dropped from 34 lakh cases per month to 21 lakh cases and beer sales have fallen from 17 lakh cases per month to 7 lakhs. However, the tightening of supply spawned a vast network of illicit brewing and inter-state smuggling.
To add to the burden of police, there is an increase in ganja smuggling through the state. This year, authorities have seized over 18,000 kg ganja. The cultivation of ganja, which was earlier confined to the Andhra-Odisha border in Visakhapatnam, has now spread to other parts of the district and East Godavari. “The border between Koraput and Malkangiri in Odisha and Visakhapatnam in AP and south Bastar in Chhattisgarh and East Godavari is now a ganja cultivation region. Huge quantities are being smuggled across AP to other parts of the country,” an official said. Director General of Police D Gautam Sawang said state police are conducting special drives to seize ganja.
The state government will start an awareness drive at educational institutions against addictions. The CM directed officials to lay special focus on drug menace and conduct awareness programmes at universities and colleges against drugs.
The CM also said that there should be constant supervision of universities and colleges on the usage of drugs and further instructed the authorities to prepare an action plan to be implemented across the State.
Cases registered in Andhra Pradesh
Liquor: In 2020: 63,310 cases were registered.
In 2021: 57,512 cases were registered.
Total: 1,20,822 cases (SEB registered 74,311 cases, police registered 46,511 cases). A total of 29,491 vehicles were seized.
Ganja: 18,686 kg of ganja was seized. 220 cases and 384 arrested.
Sand smuggling: 2,211 cases are registered. 5,72,372 tonnes of sand seized, 16,365 vehicles were seized and 22,769 arrested.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines
- The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.