iconimg Saturday, May 30, 2015

Mahesh Langa, Hindustan Times
Ahmedabad, December 10, 2012
“Dry” Gujarat has never felt drier, and tears of vexation are no compensation for bootlegged liquor. In the run-up to the election, the demand for liquor has shot up manifold. It is only matched by the spiralling prices of the little that’s available — thanks to the stringent measures taken by the state authorities.

Sadly, it is not just the regular drinkers who have been hit. The poll candidates are in a tight spot too — since in certain areas, only booze can keep the votes flowing in.

The election commission had told the police to ensure that trunk routes — from where the liquor consignments are smuggled into the state are properly surveyed.

Result? “Over the last two months, the police have caught liquor consignments worth R14 crore,” said additional chief secretary (home) SK Nanda. The Gujarat police have held meetings with their counterparts in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra.

“It is not easy for any political party to distribute liquor this time,” he added as an afterthought.

The bootleggers are struggling to keep the supply lines running. The other day, Surat police arrested seven sari-clad women who had tied up liquor bottles to their legs. A consignment from Madhya Pradesh, sent by the Narmada, was caught as well.

All this have resulted in a 30% rise in prices. “Normally, we sell a bottle of Blender’s Pride for R600. Now the same bottle is sold for Rs. 1,000,” said a man in the business.