Ranga Reddy: With total prohibition of alcohol and toddy in effect due to the lockdown for the past 11 days, addicts have been facing severe withdrawal symptoms which have landed many in hospitals. However, some defiant souls have been able to work around the system to get what is most dear to them.
One such incident happened at Gangannagudem village of Kondurg mandal in Ranga Reddy district, where some revenue officials who were invited by a person in the village for lunch, were fortunate to have found some ‘chukka’ with some ‘mukka’ on Sunday.
The revenue officials in villages including VRA, VRO and Panchayat Secretaries are entrusted with the duty of monitoring the movement of people coming to villages from outside and also those under home quarantine. They are supposed to submit regular reports to MROs of their respective mandals.
But some revenue officials working in Gangannagudem, Cherukupally and Vishwanadhapally villages managed to find alcohol in the village while prohibition was in effect. The villagers were surprised to know that while they were unable to find alcohol, somehow government officials were able to find it in belt shops in the village.
This is not the situation just in Shadnagar. Across Palamuru region, prices of alcohol being sold in black have sky-rocketed. The reason is that though Excise and Prohibition officials sealed the liquor shops right after the announcement of lockdown, the owners of liquor shops reportedly found ways to open their shops just once between 2 am and 3 am. These owners loaded alcohol bottles in vehicles and shifted them to their houses, from where the bottles have been sent to belt shops in villages and towns. The belt shop owners have been selling alcohol at almost thrice or even four times the MRP on a bottle.
For example, a full bottle of McDowell’s, which costs Rs 520-530 now sells for Rs 1,800 or more. Similarly, Blenders Pride whiskey is selling for Rs 3,000, while a bottle of beer is being sold Rs 300-350.
Though it was believed that belt shop operators had purchased stock from liquor shops just a day before Janata Curfew was imposed only to fill the gap for a day, with wine shop owners continuing supply to belt-shops, they are selling alcohol at exorbrtant prices.
Though excise and prohibition officials have been raiding several belt-shops and seizing alcohol worth thousands of rupees ever since the lockdown began, people are surprised as to how still some people were able to find it in belt-shops, especially after wine shops were sealed by the officials.
There is also a high demand for toddy these days. Toddy tappers have also been given strict warnings by excise and prohibition officials not to allow anyone to climb palm trees and sell toddy in villages. Many roads where toddy used to be sold in bottles look deserted these days. But there are some villages where people have been able to convince toddy tappers to be socially responsible and supply toddy to at least the villagers who have been in dire need of ‘neera’ (fresh toddy)
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