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Dry State nets Rs 2 Crore worth of liquor; destroyed

FREE-FLOWING: Commissioner of Excise Maongwati Aier (fourth from right) with other officials and leaders of NGOs pouring out liquor into a pit at the New Excise Complex at Lengrijan in Dimapur, today, February 9. (Morung Photo) 
Morung Express News
February 9 | Dimapur

Notwithstanding the fact that in 1989, Nagaland was declared a “Dry State”, the Excise department has had to toil harder as liquor continues to flow in the state. According to the records of the Excise department, 8477 bottles of Indian-Made Foreign Liquor and 12, 351 bottles of beer worth Rs 2 crores were seized during the period September 2011 to January 2012. The consignment is the biggest assorted liquor haul in the record of the department. “…it is an achievement for our department and it is because of our ‘God fearing’ Commissioner,” said Superintendent of Excise & Prohibition Pitongse Sangtam.
Today, February 9, the seized liquor along with 3, 105 kilograms of contraband ganja worth about Rs 80 lakh and 167 boxes of the tobacco product ‘Tez’ were destroyed at the New Excise Complex at Lengrijan in Dimapur.  The liquor and ganja were seized at various check gates, booze joints by Excise personnel and some by Assam Rifles personnel while conducting Motor Vehicle Check Post duties.
Also, in the report given by the department, during September 2011 – January 2012, a total number of 144 cases were filed and 154 persons were arrested. The report states that 979 liters of country-made liquor were destroyed on the spot while an amount of Rs 3, 28,500 lakh was collected as fines, which goes to the State’s revenue.
Earlier, before the destruction of the confiscated items, Commissioner of Excise Maongwati Aier said “…prohibition should be enforced.” He said if prohibition is lifted “many people will die”. Emphasizing on the ill effects of liquor, the commissioner said many young Nagas are unfit for the military or police service because of alcoholism. Liquor is a menace and citizens must unite to wipe it out from the Naga society, he said. The former deputy commissioner of Dimapur suggested that the Nagaland Board of School Education include the ill-effects of liquor and substance abuse in the high school syllabus so that the younger generation becomes more aware.
The church should take steps to provide alternative employment to bootleggers and drug peddlers by organizing job oriented courses, Aier said. Unemployment is another reason why people resort to illegal businesses for survival, he added. He also disclosed that he had received suggestions to auction the seized assorted liquors to another party but since 80 % of liquors found in Nagaland are adulterated and unfit for consumption, the only option left is to destroy them.
Concerning narcotic drugs, he said that the best way is to locate the marijuana or poppy plantations and destroy them at the “initial stage”. He added that it is difficult to check when these narcotic drugs enter the market.
Also, the commissioner said that the modernization of Excise Department will be implemented soon. The department’s personnel will be given better equipments, arms and vehicle.

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