Amaravati, Aug 5 : Amid unabating cases of illicit liquor distillation in Andhra Pradesh, the state government is taking a serious view of the matter, saying that it is committed to check the menace.
"The government is taking a very serious note of illicit liqour distillation in the state and it is committed to curb it with an iron hand," said an official on Thursday.
As many as 35,990 cases of illicit liqour distillation were registered in 2020, leading to the arrest of 30,532 people, including the seizure 4,314 vehicles and the destruction of a whopping 1 crore litres of fermented jaggery, the official said.
"The crackdown on illicit distillation centres and sale points during the current year up to July has resulted in the booking of 24,919 cases, involving the arrest of 15,990 persons. Three lakh litres 'arrack' has been seized and 1 crore litres of fermented jaggery has been destroyed during this period," said the official.
Surprisingly, it just took seven months in 2021 to destroy 1 crore litres of fermented jaggery, while the same amount took one full year in 2020.
The southern state is reviewing the illicit liquor matter periodically and has issued strict instructions to the officials to carry out raids and detain the kingpins involved in this illegal activity under preventive detention laws.
"Further, punishments have also been increased for the offences; maximum imprisonment has been enhanced from 5 years to 8 years and all offences have been made non-bailable," the official said.
Likewise, the government also issued directives to enlist the assistance of village volunteers and women police officers in controlling illicit distillation and for gathering intelligence.