Gujarat: Prohibition

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Himanshu Kaushik, Dec 10, 2019 Times of India

AHMEDABAD: If seizures of Indian-made foreign liquor (IMFL) bottles is any indication, alcohol use is rife in Gujarat, with the so-called dry state seizing as many as 13 IMFL bottles of Indian Made Foreign Liquor every minute, and one bottle seized every minute in Ahmedabad.

Apart from this, Gujarat police also seized two beer bottles and 1.75 litres of country liquor every minute.

These figures were revealed by the state government on Monday, the first day of the three-day winter session of the assembly. Responding to questions by Congress legislators, the government admitted that in two years, from November 1, 2017 to October 31, 2019, police seized 1.38 crore bottles of IMFL, 17.01 lakh beer bottles and 18.58 lakh litres of country liquor.

The total value of the IMFL seized was estimated to be Rs 231.40 crore, while the value of beer was Rs 17.79 crore. The country liquor seized was valued at Rs 3.13 crore, the government said.

Interestingly, government response revealed no uniformity in the value ascribed to such alcohol by police.

If the average seized IMFL bottle cost Rs 298 in Ahmedabad, it was Rs 62 in Surat.

The value of 8.40 lakh bottles seized in Ahmedabad district was estimated to be Rs 25.09 crore, while the value of 22.59 lakh bottles seized in Surat was stated to be Rs 14.16 crore.

Replying to Akshaykumar Patel, Congress MLA from Karjan, the state government said that of the 8.40 lakh bottles seized in Ahmedabad, 66% were seized in rural areas and 34% in city limits.

IMFL seizures from Ahmedabad city between November 1, 2017 and October 31, 2018 stood at 1.47 lakh bottles. Seizures for the same period in 2018-2019 fell to 1.35 lakh.

An MLA, requesting anonymity, said that the seizures represented just 10%-15% of the liquor sold in the city.

He alleged that police were hiding the actual price of the liquor, as it would imply a massive failure of prohibition.

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