BORDUMSA: Quite ironically, within 12 hours of the inauguration of a drug-de-addiction center in this small rural border hamlet in Changlang district of Eastern Arunachal Pradesh, one more retail liquor outlet was set up here on Saturday morning. It was inaugurated at the Gidding tri-junction along the trans-Arunachal Highway under Bordumsa Police Station.
While on one hand, local MLA Somlung Mossang as well as the DC and SP along with Bordumsa ADC have been expressing concern over the rising crime scenes in the area due to drug menace, on the other hand, some businessmen appear to be quite indifferent towards their social obligations. This section of traders appears to be driven solely by profit motives.
Field investigation on Saturday morning revealed that there are already nine liquor retail outlets within the radius of just one kilometer here. Two more such outlets are located near the Gidding tri-junction located within a radius of 100-meter distance. Moreover, 20 roadside petty hotels mushrooming along both the sides of the Assam-Arunachal border road illegally sell their liquor illegally. However, the Civil and Police officials are silent on this score till date.
Unfortunately, some of the retail outlets are located within 50 to 100 meters of distances from schools, temples, Forest range office, and, of course, the Customs and Excise office as well as the border Police check gate. What is more, the liquor warehouse is also located just beside the local Police Station.
On condition of anonymity, sources revealed that the IMFL (Indian-made foreign liquor) licenses held by native tribal people are leased out to people from outside the State. It appears that the potential of this profit-generating business people hardly consider the adverse impact such activities might cause — socially and culturally — among the common masses.
"There are more than 20 applications lying in my office for procuring IMFL licenses in Namsai. These would be sorted out based on all parameters including the locations and other feasibilities," said Namsai DC Rajendra Sharma. He added, "I am not forwarding the applications to a higher authority."
The official who had served as Changlang DC last year, further admitted, "The number of retail outlets in Bordumsa is already excessive and beyond requirement", adding, "storing of liquor in private godowns and also the sale of liquor in hotels is also illegal."
He further said, "Running more than one shop under a a single license is a serious crime. It should be verified by the Excise and other related departments from time to time," said the official.
Namsai — comparatively a larger town — has only eight liquor retail outlets. This is much less than the number of such outlets in Bordumsa.
It is a mystery as to why the district administrations and the Excise department have not undertaken operations against the illegal hotels that sell liquor illegally here. The DC and SP of Changlang, however, could not be contacted for their comments.