Senior advocate Ajit Sinha, appearing for the Punjab government, made strenuous attempts to dispel the impression of a bench of Justices M R Shah and C T Ravikumar that “illegal liquor brewing units appear to be in every nook and corner of the state”.
The bench warned this is a huge problem for the state having an international border, as it is easy for outside elements to spoil the youth of the state with drugs and illegal liquor.
Sinha said, “The action taken by state government and police are on the right track now. In the last two months, over 13,000 illegal units have been destroyed. Around Rs 20 crore has been collected as fine from offenders. We have formed an SIT, which with help of police, is conducting house-house search to detect illegal brewing units and destroy them.”
The bench said do not wait for another tragedy to happen and the state must take proactive action against illegal manufacture of liquor. It told Sinha to impress upon the state government to utilise the collected fine amount for running intense awareness campaigns against illicit and spurious liquor and to increase the manpower engaged in detecting illegal liquor brewing units. It also asked Punjab government to inform within a week the concrete steps it has taken to stop illegal manufacture of liquor for domestic and commercial purposes.
The SC had on November 21 had disapproved the Punjab government’s lethargy in acting against liquor mafia and those responsible for the 2020 hooch tragedy that claimed 120 lives in Tarn Taran, Amritsar and Gurdaspur.