STAFF REPORTER GUWAHATI:
Liquor Consumption During Assam Election 2021: Assam has seized liquor worth Rs 39 crore in the last 39 days. When compared to the seizure of liquor during the 2016 Assembly election in the State, there has been a 39-fold upsurge in the seizure of liquor in the three-phased Assembly election 2021 which concluded on Tuesday.
According to sources, 1.06 lakh litres of liquor worth Rs 93.34 lakh were seized during the Assam Assembly poll in 2016. As against this, 16.38 lakh litres of liquor worth Rs 39 crore have been seized till April 5 this year, ever since the model code of conduct (MCC) has been enforced in the State from February 26.
These seizures have made many people raise their eyebrows as to why there has been such a steep upsurge in the seizure of liquor during this Assembly poll in the State.
Sources point to the fact that there has been a steep rise in the transportation of liquor via Assam without valid documents in the past five years. The marked route for such illegal transportation of liquor is Arunachal Pradesh-Nagaland-Assam to the rest of India.
Official sources are of the opinion that the huge liquor consignments seized may not be meant for the Assembly election in Assam alone. In fact, Assam is a regular transit route for illegal transportation of liquor to the rest of India.
They say that such a big haul resulted due to the strict vigil maintained by the ECI (Election Commission of India), along the inter-State boundaries and international borders sharing Assam and regular information shared with the counterparts in other States and nations.
Stung by the impact that liquor had in the Bihar Assembly election in 2020, the ECI was very strict in vigilance, said the sources, adding that unlike Bihar, Assam is not a dry State where the impact of liquor on poll can never be same as that in Bihar.
A big question that arises now is: how to dispose of such a bigger haul of liquor?
Commissioner, Excise department Rakesh Kumar told The Sentinel that the Excise department will go for random checking of the seized liquor to ascertain if there are any spurious ones. Spurious liquor, if any, will be destroyed, he said.
"If anybody can convince the Court of law with valid documents, he or she can be returned the consignment with some penalties. If there's no claimant, the liquor consignment will be auctioned among licence-holding liquor outlets. That'll fetch the department huge revenue," added Kumar.
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