Liquor ban in the wake of Coronavirus lockdown has brought many new headaches for the government with suicide cases with withdrawal symptoms registered across the country. As anticipated by many of the doctors and health experts, lockdown resulted in dire consequences while states like Kerala announced rationed liquor to be delivered to the homes for the tipplers suffering from withdrawal symptoms.
Taking stock of the situation, traffickers have started selling hooch (illicit alcohol) in states like Andhra Pradesh, Odissa and parts of Madhya Pradesh. Despite raids, seizures and arrests, hooch traders are taking the cue of the increasing demand for alcohol. According to a few media reports, hooch traders are doing business in crores turning them millionaires ever since the lockdown.
Reportedly, the department has so far registered 4,266 cases, seized over 36,000 litres of hooch, destroyed over 8 lakh litres of jaggery ever since March 23rd. However, we have come through many cases where the youth and addicts are travelling kilometres and crossing borders just to get at least a litre of hooch. It is hence of little surprise that the drink, hitherto considered undesirable, is selling for 500 to 1,500 a bottle.
On average, the government is losing Rs 10 crore daily and the police have confiscated around 5,900 bottles on a daily basis. Speaking over the same, YV Bhaskar, deputy excise commissioner, Vizianagaram said, “Our teams have been collecting information to bust hooch trade. Tipplers have to be careful as the hooch is being laced with sedatives and dangerous chemicals.”