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Excise squad to conduct random tests at bars

In an attempt to crack down on bootleggers, excise officials to collect samples of liquor served at bars, restaurants and test them

Worried with the inflow of spurious liquor in the state and the fear that permit rooms in the city will make use of the same, the officials from the Maharashtra State Excise Department has decided to randomly start picking up samples of liquor from bars to test if it is the real deal. 

Confirming the same, a senior excise official said, "I have instructed my flying squad to collect samples from various permit rooms. The move was ideated after a recent meeting with the State Excise Minister Ganesh Naik, where the issue was raised. Hence to make sure that no mixing of spurious liquor is made we have decided to randomly pick samples of liquor and will send them for testing to government labs."


Sample this: In the past few months, an increase in bootlegging has
been recorded.

File pic


The plan was initiated after the department witnessed a spurt in the inflow of bogus alcohol entering the state.
This month, the department seized two trucks loaded with illegal alcohol in Sindhudurg, one worth Rs 32 lakh and the other worth Rs 73 lakh. "We have observed that many locals have got involved in this bootlegging racket. Chances are they might be supplying the bogus alcohol to bars in the city, hence we have decided to take stringent action to curb the use of illegal liquor."

However, when asked why samples of alcohol will not be collected from the supplier, who provides bar owners with the alcohol, the officer revealed that in the recent past, officials had found that bootleggers had become smart and started to mix cheap alcohol in a bottle of a premium brand. "We fear that these bottles might be reaching many permit rooms in the city. Hence, taking samples from these bars are necessary as chances of adulteration at manufacturing levels are far lesser," added the officer.

However, Sudhakar Shetty, president of Indian Hotel and Restaurant Association (AHAR) feels the move is illogical and impractical. "If they want to keep a hold on the sale of illegal liquor in the state then they should try to nab the bootleggers and not by harassing genuine businessmen like us.  Recently, the department collected sealed bottles from a few of our permit rooms. We don't understand the reason behind collecting sealed bottles as we have purchased them from the wholesalers."

Another restaurant owner echoed Shetty's sentiments. "Lifting sealed bottles from our shelf is foolish. Repeatedly, we have appealed to the department to nab the bootleggers and help us. Not only this, the department has decided to get these samples tested from the distillery that produces the liquor. The distilleries aren't going to find anything wrong with their own product. This is simply another method of harassment that the government has come up with."

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