Arrack making rife in 189 Krishna villages

VIJAYAWADA: Even as eight districts in the State including Visakhapatnam, Srikakulam and West Godavari were officially announced ID liquor-free by the Prohibition and Excise (P&E) Department in 2016, five other districts are posing a huge challenge to the officials.
According to the P&E officials, five districts including East Godavari, Krishna, Vizianagaram, Chittoor and Kurnool are yet not free from black jaggery and arrack. East Godavari tops the list.
Following the launch of ‘Navodayam’ programme last year, the officials identified 189 villages in Krishna where manufacturing, transporting and sale of ID liquor was rampant. The villages were divided into A, B and C categories and special village and mandal-level committees were constituted with Mandal Revenue Officer, Excise officials, community service members and DWCRA groups as members.
A ground report by TNIE revealed that there are many prominent areas in Krishna, Vizianagaram and East Godavari districts where arrack is brewed in large quantities. Arrack-making is a profession, since decades, for the fishermen in lanka villages of Bandarkota, Garalathippa and Polatathippa in Krishna. Similarly, ID liquor manufacturing is rampant in the agency areas of Sithampeta, Kotturu, Pathapatnam and Bamini in Srikakulam and Gummalakshmipuram, Kurupam and Giyyamvalasa areas in Vizianagaram district. According to P&E Director K Venkateswara Rao, rural areas around Rajamahendravaram and agency villages in East Godavari are found to have huge number of ID liquor manufacturing units.“It is not possible to bring the people in these villages out of the profession, for they are into it for generations. Programmes like Navodayam are not yielding any positive results,” a senior P&E official told Express.
“It is funny to announce Visakhapatnam, Srikakulam and West Godavari district as ID-free. It is a false claim by the government. People in all the agency villages are still consuming ID liquor and making black jaggery,” asserted CPM State secretary P Madhu. Arrack is usually transported in water bottles and plastic drums, which tend to go unchecked by the P&E and Government Railway Police officials in these areas.