Chandigarh, May 11 (IANS) Industrial effluent and sewage are used to brew illicit liquor in Punjab.
This fact came to light in a search operation by the Excise and Taxation Department in the Bet area of Ludhiana district that falls along the Satluj river where about 2.80 lakh kg of unclaimed 'lahan' (raw material used for producing illicit liquor) and 100 litre of illicit liquor was destroyed on the spot, officials said on Wednesday.
As many as 60 members of search teams carried out the extensive search on Tuesday in some 40 km in which a shocking fact came to the fore that in order to distill the illicit liquor from 'lahan', the water used was the one which came from the sewage of industrial units of Ludhiana city.
On seeing the Excise teams, the people involved in the distillation ran away, leaving behind 30 working stills, six quintals of wood, 15 iron drums, two aluminium vessels, plastic pipes and 12 bags of jaggery, an official statement said.
During the operation, excise staff from Jalandhar was also called at other end of the river for combing operations. The operation was aimed to deter the people involved in the illicit distillation of liquor from 'lahan' in the Mand areas and areas along the banks of the rivers of the state.
The teams observed the water being used for the liquor distillation was full of the chemical waste and toxins releases from the industrial units.
The illicit brewing of liquor has become a big challenge in areas along the river beds and border areas that are not only having adverse impact on the sale of country-made liquor but also impending threat of hooch tragedies, said the statement.
To end illegal and illicit activities, the department has launched an extensive statewide drive.
On the directive of Excise and Taxation Minister Harpal Singh Cheema, Excise Commissioner Varun Roojam constituted four teams to launch the search operation. The teams were constituted under Deputy Commissioner (Excise) Shalin Walia by Shivani Gupta, Assistant Commissioner (Excise), Ludhiana Range.
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