Despite claims of a successful liquor ban, the Gujarat government admitted in the Assembly on Friday that liquor and narcotic substances worth Rs 6,413 crore were seized in different parts of the state over the last two years.
The seized contraband included Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) worth Rs 197.56 crore, domestic liquor worth Rs 3.99 crore, and beer bottles worth Rs 10.51 crore. The figures were provided by the government in response to a series of questions posed by Congress MLAs. Harsh Sanghavi, Minister of State for Home, stated that the police confiscated alcohol worth Rs 212 crore in two years, begin in December 2022, including both domestically produced alcohol and IMFL.
“During the same time period, the authorities seized illegal drugs worth `6,201 crores from various parts of the state. The narcotics included heroin, charas, opium, cannabis, and methamphetamine. While most criminals involved in the illegal trade have been apprehended, nearly 3,700 suspects remain at large,” said Sanghavi.
Shailesh Parmar, a senior Congress lawmaker, questioned the minister on the number of top suspects detained, pointing out that the majority of those detained were minor offenders. Sanghavi responded to Congress MLA by saying that the state police, in collaboration with federal authorities, had detained primary suspects in 14 incidents involving drug seizures. In one such case, the Pandi brothers were charged with smuggling massive amounts of cannabis (ganja) from their home state of Odisha to Gujarat.
The seizures from the Pandi brothers were made by the Gujarat police as well as their Odisha counterparts. The Pandi brothers shipped large amounts of cannabis from Odisha’s Ganjam district to Gujarat said the minister. “The police crackdown on drug dealers has served as a model for other states,” said the minister. On July 25, 2022, at least 42 people died after consuming country-made alcohol, and more than 97 of them ended up in hospitals.
Since Gujarat’s foundation in 1960, it is illegal to sell and consume alcohol in the state. According to the government’s reply in the Assembly, the districts with the most narcotic and alcohol hauls are Vadodara (Rs 1,620.7 crore), Bharuch (Rs 1,389.91 cr), and Kutch (Rs 1,040.57 crore.
In terms of IMFL seizure, Ahmedabad district topped the list with 28.23 crore worth of liquor. The second one is Surat with (Rs 21.42 crore), Vadodara (Rs 14.61 crore), and Rajkot (Rs 13.84 crore.” it said. Congress spokesperson Parthivraisinh Kathavadia told TNIE that “according to data provided by the state government, the amount of narcotics seized has increased more than 11-fold in comparison to the previous years.”
“In the last two years, drugs worth Rs 6,201 crore have been seized. It demonstrates the law and order situation is not deteriorating. Furthermore, despite a significant increase in drug-related cases, the conviction rate in such cases has dropped to 1%, “Kathavadia said.
Of the 40,000 people who can legally consume alcohol on health grounds, Ahmedabad district accounts for almost 30% of all permits issued (13,034). There are 8,054 health permits in Surat district and 1,989 in Porbandar district. Ahmedabad, Surat, Vadodara, and Rajkot hold 70% of health permits currently. There are 5,547 visitor permits issued in the state, while the number of tourist permits is 3,729.
Haul in 2 years
Liquor has been banned in Gujarat since the state was born in 1960. However, liquor and drug sale has gone on all these years across the state. In the last two years, liquor and drug hauls have been spectacular.
Total Rs 6,413 cr (Worth liquor and drugs recovered in 2 yrs)
IMFL: Rs 197.56 cr
Locally brewed liquor: Rs 3.99 cr
Beer bottles: Rs 10.51 cr
Seized drugs worth Rs 6,201 cr
(Included heroin, charas, opium, cannabis, and methamphetamine)