Kerala moots Kudumbashree-model groups, special squads to check spurious toddy

Representational image.

Palakkad: The Kerala government is planning to set up ward-level committees and special squads to prevent manufacturing of spurious toddy. The committees will be constituted on the model of Kudumbashree units and would have an Excise official among the members.

High-level meetings convened by Excise Minister M V Govindan and Excise Commissioner S Ananthakrishnan also suggested special arrangements at Chittur in Palakkad district, where toddy is produced the most in the state.

Meetings were held with officials in Kannur, Ernakulam and Thiruvananthapuram in the backdrop of the detection of massive corruption by excise personnel based at Palakkad recently.

Data collection

Under the new measures, Kudumbashree groups will collect various details from each locality, including number of coconut palms, coconut groves, workers involved in the activity and amount of toddy collected during both seasons. The data collection is expected to be completed by July-end and is aimed at detection and curbing of the production of spurious toddy.

The government has also warned range and circle officials of action if their subordinates are found to have collected monthly bribes.

Minister’s warning

Meanwhile, the Excise minister said that instances of officials collecting monthly contributions as bribes from bar hotels also, apart from toddy units, had come to his notice. “Such officers will not be retained in service,” warned Govindan.

“Some toddy shops have huge spirit godowns which resemble similar constructions unearthed when the Kalluvathukkal liquor tragedy case accused Manichan was brought to book,” said the minister.

He also said that it was no surprise that excise officials were keen for a transfer to districts such as Thrissur, Ernakulam and Palakkad.

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