Yesterday, this paper ran a front-page investigative report supported by extensive pictures, about how illicit liquor dens are flourishing inside the city’s Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP). The report stated that as night falls at SGNP, tribals gather to brew illicit liquor. There are around 20 illicit alcohol brewing units that have come up in the woods near Vihar lake. They are also near the forested patch around Saibhangoda and famous Maroshipada, both near Aarey Milk Colony on the circumference of SGNP.

While the reporter staked life and limb while scouring the forest for the report, even getting some threats to keep away from the spot, while researching, it is evident that authorities and guards must be better equipped to tackle such activities.

Firstly, even though there are patrols, they obviously may not be enough, given that the illicit brewing is being done under cover of darkness. Patrolling needs to be stepped up and be more aggressive. Maybe, even the frequency of the patrolling should be increased. Guards too, need to be better equipped technologically to deal with the menace. Though not stated overtly, one is quite certain that guards and other personnel may be aware of what is going on within the park.

Since many of these brewing units are located near water bodies, it is evident that they are using water to make the brew. The scale of the operation seems quite big, with many people involved including a local goon, controlling operations, and, there is certainly an air of fear and tension, which is a strong deterrent for anybody wanting to draw attention to what is going on.

There is severe environmental damage as trees are being cut on a large and alarming scale, as firewood is needed to boil the brew. Huge, well-armed teams need to enter the park and smash this racket, before it spreads its tentacles even more extensively than it has till now. Environmentalists claim that these elements are politically protected. Whatever the truth, SGNP officers need solid backing and this needs concerted will and well-planned action. Root it out now.