Ahead of polls, Goa tightens vigil on liquor trade

March 14th, 2009 - 5:12 pm ICT by IANS  

Panaji, March 14 (IANS) The Goa government is tightening its vigil on the manufacture and trade of liquor to ensure that it is not misused by political parties to lure voters in the upcoming polls.
The government’s move to track down the liquor trail in the state comes on the heels of a massive seizure of Goa-manufactured alcohol in Karnataka last week.

“We are aware that liquor can be a commodity which is used by political parties to alter voting patterns. We have initiated several measures to ensure that this does not happen during the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections,” Commissioner of Excise Sandeep Jacques told IANS Friday.

“We are keeping an eye on 15 licensed distilleries which have stopped production, but still have the wherewithal to manufacture certain kinds of alcohol,” Jacques said, adding that vigilance along the state’s border had been increased, to keep an eye on commercial and non-commercial vehicles carrying liquor or other excisable commodities.

“Because of our low tax policy on liquor, spirits generally are smuggled out of Goa. But a lot of imported liquor like foreign wines and whiskies are also smuggled into the state depriving us of revenue,” he said.

“We are also collecting data on bars and restaurants which during election time distribute liquor in favour of a particular candidate. We will caution these vendors against doing this,” he said.

Jacques also said that the excise department was studying comparative liquor sale patterns over the last few years on a daily basis to spot any sudden, unnatural increase in sale of alcohol ahead of or during elections.

“We have a fair idea how much liquor is sold when. So if we notice that a wholesaler has suddenly sold a large volume of alcohol we would want to know what he has done with it,” he said.

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