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Mumbai: Forest officials destroy one hooch-brewing unit at SGNP

Action comes after mid-day’s report yesterday on illicit alcohol being concocted inside the national park in the cover of darkness

Galvanised into action by mid-day’s investigative report on illicit liquor being brewed inside the Sanjay Gandhi National Park, a team of 20 Forest Department officials visited the described location near Vihar Lake, and destroyed one such unit that had been functioning inside the forest near Saibhangoda.

One of the makeshift stoves created with bricks to boil the blend
One of the makeshift stoves created with bricks to boil the blend

The culprits, however, could not be caught. Range Forest Officer (RFO) D Dahibaokar, who led the operation, said, “On Monday we visited the area near Saibhangoda and destroyed the chullah (makeshift brick stove) used for brewing liquor constructed on private land. But at the time we visited the spot we could not find anyone.”

mid-day report yesterday
mid-day report yesterday

The official also confirmed that more such units were operating and that the team would conduct raids on Tuesday to weed them out, and take action against those responsible. An official from the state Excise Department told mid-day that they would also be conducting surprise checks at various locations near Vihar lake and the woods on its periphery.

Yesterday, this paper reported (‘Hooch being made inside Sanjay Gandhi National Park!’) how locals dwelling in the protected forest run a thriving business manufacturing and distributing cheap liquor, and raking in the moolah by freely exploiting the park’s protected resources of land, water and wood.

Tribals in the area sought assurances of anonymity before telling us that there are currently close to 20 illegal alcohol brewing units (ABUs) in operation at different spots in the sprawling wooded acres of the national park.

The report also stated that ABU operators find it convenient to set up shop near Vihar lake and the forested patch around Saibhangoda and Maroshipada, near Aarey Milk Colony.

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