Anyone with plans to sneak in a few extra bottles of alcohol from neighbouring states to keep the sparks flying this Diwali should be warned that the chances of getting caught this year are quite high.
In a bid to curb the illegal entry of liquor into the state and city, the state excise department has for the first time deployed its entire Mumbai team on bandobast duty to nip such activities in the bud.
Acting on tip-off
According to sources, the decision came after the department received a tip-off about illegal liquor entering the state as the festive season approaches. The state excise department has now deployed its men at strategic check posts where chances of illegal liquor entering the state are high.
“We received a tip-off that liquor might enter the state through Daman and Diu and also via Gujarat. Hence, the department is taking no chances and has stationed men at these check posts,” said an excise official on condition of anonymity.
The drive has created some amount of concern for junior excise officials over the punishing work schedule in store this festive season. A few officials have already been stationed at various check posts in the state. Also, all officers will have to put in 48 hours of duty, irrespective of whether they are from the city or from outside it.
“We will be operating like how the police personnel man check posts on a shift basis. Even personnel from Alibaug jurisdiction have been asked to report to their respective check posts, which could be far from where they usually work. Imagine an Alibaug-bound excise inspector asked to report and put in hours at Mira-Bhayandar check post,” said another excise official on condition of anonymity.
The plan is to have five or more excise officers at check posts round the clock. “It would have been good if the ward officers concerned were asked to do their duty in their own jurisdiction,” the officer said.
The department is on the alert to stem liquor pouring
in from Goa. “Liquor in Goa is cheaper compared to Maharashtra. Hence, there is a huge market for illegal liquor from Goa in the city. A stricter vigil is being kept on buses and trains coming into the state from Goa,” the official said.