Intensifying their crackdown on illicit liquor sale and unlawful trade of smuggled Indian-made Foreign liquor (IMFL), Excise squads will begin State-wide surprise inspections on August 1, ahead of Onam.

The special drive will, with the support of the police, keep track of inter-State liquor smuggling at State borders.

Excise Minister T.P. Ramakrishnan reviewed the arrangements and assignment of tasks to regional squads at a meeting of Excise officials here on Friday. He said shops found selling liquor and narcotic substances would be closed down at once as part of the drive.

“The activities at foreign liquor shops and bar hotels will be closely monitored during the special drive. Toddy shops too will be covered by the squads to stop the sale of adulterated products,” said Mr. Ramakrishnan. He added that the State government’s Vimukti Mission would streamline its activities in support of the de-addiction campaign.

Excise Department officials said the special drive would cover coastal areas as well to prevent smuggling of illicit and smuggled liquor by boats. Moreover, the support of the coastal police will be sought to ensure flawless checking, they added.

In Kozhikode district alone, Excise squads conducted 1,536 raids last month. This was in addition to 25 combined search operations conducted with the support of other squads. The team registered 208 Abkari cases against offenders. Not less than 110 persons were arrested in connection with various cases.

An Excise inspector said the squads had together seized 405 litres of liquor smuggled from Mahe and 354 litres of IMFL smuggled from other locations to the district during last month’s drive. This was in addition to the seizure of tranquilliser drugs, banned tobacco products, arrack, and ganja, he added. Inspections at migrant labour camps too will be strengthened during the Onam season. Last month alone, 24 such labour camps were inspected by squads under Operation Bhai, officials said.

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