In a bid to make prohibition more effective, the Bihar government now plans to have its own scanning machines installed at six key railway stations and the two main airports at Patna and Gaya.
Principal secretary, department of registration, excise and prohibition, KK Pathak, has written to civil aviation and railway authorities in this regard.
“Both railway and civil aviation authorities have agreed in principle to provide space. We are soon going into the tendering process for procurement of luggage scanners. We hope to complete the process in the next two-three months,” he added.
Pathak said as soon as space is made available at the two main airports in Patna and Gaya, the scanners would be installed at state government’s cost. “We will have our own men stationed there. Anyone caught carrying liquor bottles in luggage will be reported to the nearest police station for action as per law,” he added.
Though passengers have to get their luggage scanned during departure, they don’t need to go through any security check on arrival and can leave the airport without any security check, except at international airports where smuggling is suspected.
During a recent meeting with the divisional railway managers of Danapur, Sonepur, Mughalsarai, Maldah and Samastipur, Pathak had sought space at the six big stations in Patna, Muzaffarpur, Gaya, Bhagalpur, Dehri-on-Sone and Samastipur for installing scanners.
According to a letter written to the railway authorities, the scanners would be used for random check of luggage/cargo on suspicion or on specific tip off due to huge traffic flow by trains. The Bihar government would bear the cost of installing scanners, which would be operated by state police personnel with the cooperation of railway.
The excise department has also embarked on an exercise to strengthen its intelligence wing with the creation of more posts and induction of policemen. “On the borders, we are keeping close eye on those returning after consuming liquor. People are also keeping tabs on new liquor joints across the state boundaries,” said a senior department official.
He said, there is daily monitoring of the number of arrests made by the police, rail police and the excise officials. “Besides, the number of persons granted bail is also being monitored and the reasons looked into. The feedbacks will help incorporate new provisions in the law to make prohibition more effective,” he added.
In view of the huge stock of Indian manufactured foreign liquor (IMFL) with the Beverage Corporation, the department has also decided to refund the duty paid on the supplies and allow the manufacturers to sell the products with a changed label in other states.