To crack down on illegal country liquor manufacturing, the Thane Rural Police have hired a drone camera to locate illegal businesses in the area. Police said the move was aimed at making the district free of illegal liquor manufacturing and sale.
Following the Kopardi rape and murder last year, the state government had given directions to close down illegal liquor businesses in villages, police officers said.
“We started our drive against illegal liquor businesses from October last year. We have formed committees at village, tehsil and district levels to keep track of such shops and take regular action,” said Mahesh Patil, Superintendent of Police, Thane (rural). Patil said several meetings were held to make locals aware of the drive and get them involved. “We now call up people to check for such businesses coming up,” he said.
Besides, the police are using a ‘drone camera’ to crack down on illegal units operating on the creek-side and hilly areas. “The drone camera we hired is being used in areas difficult to monitor. Now, we have bought two drone cameras, which we will receive in eight days,” said Patil.
Another police officer said around 200 calls were to locals made from the police headquarters of Thane too, to know about the locations of illegal units.
“Since October, around 800 raids have been conducted and material worth around Rs 1 crore seized. In all, 900 people have been arrested and preventive action taken against 600,” Patil said, adding the crackdown had helped close illegal liquor businesses in almost 90 per cent of villages.
Patil further said that attempts were being made to rehabilitate people affected by the move. So far, around 40 people have been able to get jobs in various companies in the area, he said. “The rise in sale of liquor at licensed shops indicate that illegal businesses are not in operation. Still, we are waiting for the villages to pass a resolution for liquor ban,” said the police officer.
Police authorities also said that a recent survey by local BJP MLA, Kisan Kathore, from Murbad, helped them know that around 12,000 people had died by consuming illegal country liquor. “The situation is more or less same in other areas. So, focused attempts are being made to close down such businesses,” said another officer.
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