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Catch them young: Rajasthan booze shops hire kids on vacation for home deliveries

Locals say many of the delivery boys deliver alcohol to remote villages using cycles gifted to their sisters by the government

india Updated: May 27, 2017 11:56 IST
Aparnesh Goswami
Aparnesh Goswami
Hindustan Times, Bikaner
Rajasthan,Bikaner,alcohol delivery
A minor carries bottles of beer on a bicycle that government hands out to schoolgirls, in Bikaner. (The boy’s face has been blurred to protect his identity since he is a minor) (HT Photo)

In north Rajasthan’s Bikaner, several schoolboys have a new pastime this vacation: to work as delivery boys for liquor vends.

Most of them minors, they carry alcohol bottles on bicycles to remote villages.

On Friday, HT spotted a 14-year-old at 17 KYD village of Khajuwala sub-division carrying bottles of beer on front and rear carriers of his bicycle.

“I use my sister’s bicycle to deliver liquor and earn some money,” he said.

The bicycle is a government gift to his sister.

Rajasthan government distributes bicycles, orange in colour, to schoolgirls who live within five kilometers of the school to encourage enrolment and prevent them from dropping out. The state education department plans to distribute 2.95 lakh bicycles. One bicycle costs ₹2,937 to the government, and 50,000 have been distributed in 16 districts.

Locals said several such minor boys were engaged by liquor vends for delivery in remote areas.

There are 22 liquor shops in Khajuwala and most of them have branches in small hamlets.

Bikaner’s district supply officer OP Panwar said sale of liquor by children was a crime and he will take action if such instances are brought to his notice. “We will look into the employment of children by liquor vends,” he told HT.

Locals, however, allege that police and excise officials are well aware of the practice but seldom take action.

Purshottam Sarswat, vice president of Seemajan Kalyan Samiti told HT that there are many schoolchildren involved in liquor distribution.

“We have raised this issue at different levels and recently through a written representation to the district collector in Ratri Choupal,” he said.

First Published: May 27, 2017 11:56 IST