Tribune News Service
Lambi/Muktsar, August 22
The teams of the Excise Department from Muktsar and Fazilka districts today destroyed nearly 73,000 litres of “lahan” (raw material used to prepare hooch) along a canal at Kattianwali village.
Besides, four working illegal distilleries (bhathis), 17 drums and 82 tarpaulin sheets buried under the soil were seized.
Muktsar Excise and Taxation Officer (ETO) Vikram Thakur said, “Acting on a tip-off, a massive raid was conducted along a canal at Kattianwali village in the morning and nearly 73,000-litre ‘lahan’ was destroyed. Besides, some other goods being used in the hooch preparation were seized. The search operation was carried out along both sides of the canal, which lasted for nearly six hours.”
Meanwhile, a case against unidentified persons has been registered in this regard at the Kabarwala police station.
An excise official said, “There is dense wild growth along the canal and it is unsafe to visit there even in daylight. Further, people involved in this illegal trade are so sharp that they have deployed a large number of people to inform them about the raid. Thus, they manage to run every time before the raid.”
Residents of neighbouring villages said they were upset with this illegal activity. “A number of people from faraway places ask us about the hooch preparation network at Kattianwali village. It seems there is a nexus between the authorities concerned and the bootleggers that’s why they manage to escape every time,” they claimed.
Despite the state government’s crackdown on drug peddlers and bootleggers, hooch preparation goes unabated at Kattianwali village on the Malout-Abohar national highway in Lambi Assembly segment here. The hooch prepared here is supplied to neighbouring states of Rajasthan and Haryana as well.
Liquor contractors’ business hit
This illegal business is hitting hard the business of liquor contractors in this area. They have time and again lodged complaints to the authorities concerned. “The authorities act on our complaint, but those running this illegal business are never arrested. They still remain unidentified,” said a liquor contractor.
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