The excise department failed to take “sufficient steps” to prevent illegal liquor business along the border areas in Assam, said a state Assembly Committee report.
The Departmentally Related Standing Committee on Development (A) departments of Assam Legislative Assembly in its report for the Excise department for 2021-22 further said that many “set rules are being flouted”.
The House panel in its report suggested to form an armed battalion of its own to control “accelerating” unlawful activities.
“The Committee observed that some illegal liquor centres have grown up throughout the border areas of the state which may cause a great loss to the excise duty,” the report added.
It recommended that the Excise department should take necessary measures to issue retail “Off” licences in the border areas.
“Off” licence means that liquor can be sold from a site but has to be consumed off the site. “On” licence refers to an establishment that sells alcohol, which can be consumed on the site itself.
“The Committee observes that sufficient steps have not been taken by the concerned department in the border areas of Arunachal Pradesh in case of an influx of liquor,” it said.
“Therefore, the Committee strongly recommends that the Excise Department should take necessary steps to check influx of liquor from Arunachal Pradesh by putting in place ”Check Points” and increase vigilance and enforcement activities in the districts bordering Arunachal,” the report added.
Talking about another border district, Karimganj in Barak valley, the Assembly panel noted that the department has been experiencing various difficulties in the Karimganj district regarding retail licence.
It asked the officials to verify if permissions were granted in violation of Assam Excise Rules.
“The Committee also observes that some licensees have leased their Retail ”Off” licences to others,” the report pointed out.
It asked the authorities to take all necessary steps so as to check if any such unlawful activities have taken place.
“…if any such cases are found, then such licences shall be cancelled and the same may be allotted to the unemployed youths of the state,” it added.
Further, the Committee said other norms like prescribed distances between wine shops are not followed and recommended “strict adherence” to the rules of the Excise Department.
It also suggested taking strict action to curb illicit liquor completely from the state. It is predominantly available in villages and tea garden areas.
“The Committee observes that sufficient steps have not been taken by the Excise Department due to lack of armed battalion for Excise Department, Assam,” the report said.