Uttar Pradesh: This village kids study for free meals, sell hooch for living | lucknow | Hindustan Times
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Uttar Pradesh: This village kids study for free meals, sell hooch for living

The illegal liquor trade is going on in the area since generations and the children learn to act as carriers soon after they attain the age of eight to ten years.

lucknow Updated: Dec 15, 2017 15:59 IST
Farhan Ahmad Siddiqui
The culvert outside Ghisa Ka Purwa where children reportedly hide hooch in bushes.
The culvert outside Ghisa Ka Purwa where children reportedly hide hooch in bushes.(HT Photo)

With majority of children going to school every morning, a first glance at this Pratapgarh village routine presents a normal picture.

Spend a few hours at Ghisa Ka Purwa and you get to know why the children here are considered notorious — so much so that they are roped in for smuggling hooch.

The illegal liquor trade is going on in the area since generations and the children learn to act as carriers soon after they attain the age of eight to ten years.

The children here witness illegal liquor manufacturing since early age and once they enter the illegal trade no other option is left for them.

Although they go to school, they are forced to make their career only in illegal liquor trade, which they inherit, from their fathers and grandfathers.

Of the 32 families of Ghisa Ka Purwa, majority is engaged in bootlegging since generations, says a police official.

The village has a population of 72 children in the age of 6 to 14 years. Although these children go to the primary school, they adopt their illegal family business, which is only source of living for most of the villagers.

Read more: 15-year-old boy killed in Bengal for hooch protest

“Many children go to school only because of free meals and school dress,” says a villager.

A few go to private schools but none of them have ever studied beyond intermediate.

“Instead of studies, they compete in hooch smuggling and attracting customers for selling the liquor manufactured by their families,” villager added.

So what’s the modus operandi?

The children hide liquor in the bushes near the culvert outside the village.The liquor is sold to customers in the evenings.

“During raids, the smart kids turn into shepherds,” reveals a villager.

Village head Sushila’s husband Suman said the illegal liquor trade is making a bad impact on nearby villages that are free from the menace. No rehabilitation programme has ever been launched for villagers.

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Police and excise department only raid liquor kilns to stop bootlegging but never advised them to adopt any other business to make their living. “No government department or NGO ever came forward for rehabilitation of the villagers,” Suman added.

District excise officer Bachhalal said his department carries out raids at Ghisa Ka Purwa at-least three to four times a month and destroy illegal liquor kilns and raw materials. Cases were registered against 150 people for bootlegging last year. There are many on whom FIRs were lodged repeatedly but they still carried on their illegal business, Bachhalal added.