Thu. Apr 15th, 2021

Wetlands turning into safe dens for bootleggers

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PRAYAGRAJ, April 7 (HS): Wetlands in the Prayagraj area are not only ecological treasure troves, but also appear to be the operational base of illegal liquor factories, according to reports. As the threat of illegal liquor continues to claim lives, police and excise officials raid and destroy illegal liquor production units in remote rural areas on a regular basis. These teams, on the other hand, often struggle to locate the units operating in the wetlands. The Yamuna and Ganga’s vast wetlands provide safe havens for bootleggers and illicit liquor producers, with vessels, camels, and milk cans being used to transport booze to various locations.

Many areas along the banks of the two rivers have ravines that serve as safe havens for illicit liquor producers and suppliers. People involved in the illicit liquor and hooch industry select wetlands as their hideouts, according to an excise department official. They conceal liquor gallons within rivers and small ponds to prevent being discovered. They sometimes bury the liquor gallons in the sand and take them out as per demand.

People involved in the illegal trade are familiar with the geography of the wetlands and frequently avoid police and excise teams because they are locals, he added. Boats and camels are used to transport illicit liquor and hooch to other villages, keeping them out of reach of the police. Camels are commonly used to transport vegetables and agricultural produce in the Ganga’s wetlands.

Camels can transport vast amounts of liquor gallons and pouches to remote locations. Bahmalpur, Khaptiha, Kanihar, Phaphamau, and many other villages along the Ganga’s banks are known for illegal liquor production, while Kanjasa, Arail, Lavayan, Sandwa, and other villages in the trans-Yamuna region are considered hooch hotspots.

According to Ashutosh Mishra, SP (Crime), the informer network in remote rural areas will be improved in order to fully eliminate the threat of illicit liquor. Locals would be enlisted to help track down illicit liquor processing units in wetlands and riverbanks, he said.

Bootleggers sell illicit liquor on boats in many trans-Yamuna regions, and if they see police approaching, they immediately abandon the boat in the middle of the river. The illicit hooch trade was at its peak during the lockdown. Illegal liquor producers made a lot of money by supplying it on boats to different areas.