The prohibition policy in Gujarat seems to exist only on paper. If data provided by the state home ministry are anything to go by, more liquor seems to be flowing into Gujarat than ever before.
Figures tabled by the state government in the assembly recently show that Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) worth more than a staggering Rs123 crore was seized in 14 districts of the state from 2008-09 to 2012-13, a large portion of it in the last year.
IMFL worth Rs22.61 crore was seized in Sabarkantha in the five-year period, the highest among the 14 districts for which the information was provided by the government. In 2012-13 alone, liquor worth a whopping Rs16.60 crore was seized in Sabarkantha, which is also the highest among the reported districts in a single year.
In Ahmedabad district, liquor worth Rs18 crore was seized in the five-year period. Of the total seizure, Ahmedabad city accounted for Rs11 crore.
Liquor seizure worth nearly Rs16 crore was made in Panchmahals districts from 2008-09 to 2012-13. Among other districts, liquor worth over Rs17 crore was seized in Vadodara, Rs10.8 crore in Surat and Rs7.67 crore in Tapi.
The liquor seizure was just below Rs6 crore in the case of Rajkot, over Rs5 crore in Mehsana and more than Rs4 crore each in Kheda, Bharuch and Junagadh.
An analysis of the data shows that quantity of liquor seized in 10 of the 14 districts was by far the highest in 2012-13 as compared with the previous years. Officials say that this could be because of the assembly elections, which took place in December.
“Because of the elections, large quantities of liquor were brought in the state by candidates to lure voters. However, strict enforcement by Election Commission led to seizure of large quantities,” said a home department official.
It would be a safe assumption that the quantity of liquor undetected would be several times more of what was seized by the authorities, the official added.
Apart from seizure of IMFL, lakhs of litres of country made liquor worth crores of rupees was also seized by the cops from the 14 districts.