The sudden change in political atmosphere of Andhra Pradesh has gotten high on the hooch allegations nowadays. The number of deaths due to illicit brew is being disputed by the ruling party as it attributes the deaths reported from Jangareddygudem to natural causes.

One leader even was quoted as saying that postmortem reports suggested no relation to illicit brew. A Minister asked whether the TDP leadership was ignorant of the symptoms in case of illicit brew consumption. The Chief Minister asked the Opposition to “use some brains and some logic” before making an allegation.

His contention was that Jangareddygudem being a municipality of about 50,000 population there was no chance of illicit brewing taking place in the town. There could be politics to the allegations of illicit liquor deaths in the State and the Opposition might be desperate in saying so. The puzzle here, however, is because the ruling party made a mention of postmortem. Why would there be a postmortem in case of a natural death?

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Even in case of a hospital death, there is no need for a postmortem. The Government is well within its rights to rubbish the Opposition allegations but to claim that illicit brew would not be made in a municipality sounds a bit bizarre. Why would it not be? Liquor prices are too high in the State due to the Government’s commitment to reduce alcohol consumption in the State that would one day pave way for total prohibition.

As a measure in the right direction, the government, after taking over the liquor trade, hiked the prices abnormally and despite its recent decision to rationalise the prices recently, they are still beyond a commoner’s purse, notwithstanding the benefit of direct cash transfers accruing in the State to several sections.

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In addition, the State Excise Department is also vending unique brands of liquor that leave many discerning Bacchus lovers incredulous as they don’t like to compromise on their taste buds. Again if you look at the very illicit brewing concept, there is nothing filmy about it nowadays. All that it requires is a portion of spirit, food colour and a capping machine for the bottles. Jaggery wash etc are also used, if not in municipalities, as the Chief Minister rightly pointed out.

Transportation of illicit liquor is not being ruled out in the State by the Excise Department too. It has registered 1,129 cases and arrested 677 persons during the state-wide raids conducted by it from March 10 to 14. During the raids, the SEB officials seized 13,471 litres of Illicit distilled (ID) liquor, 47 vehicles used for transportation of liquor and destroyed 5,76,710 litres of fermented Jaggery wash. In addition, three cases were registered against two persons for illegal possession of black jaggery and 68,618 kg of black jaggery was seized.

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According to a statement, cases of ID liquor are high in East Godavari, 308, followed by Chittoor (188), East Godavari (148) and Kurnool (100). The Government should always keep in mind that for legal liquor, a consumer has to reach its outlet whereas illicit brew flows to his address. The Government could always state the facts without ever quoting the death rates in a deductive manner. #KhabarLive #hydnews

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