ECI keeping tabs on sale of urrack; In liquor tracking, urrack distribution a major challenge
PANJIM: The Excise Department teams and the flying squads formed to ensure that alcohol is not used to induce voters, have found an unexpected challenge in the locally-made and very popular summer brew – urrack.
While liquor worth close to Rs 3 crore has been seized since the enforcement of the code of conduct on March 10, urrack eludes the teams, though sources claim that the cashew brew could be tempting bait this election season.
“The cheap availability of this brew could be used by some party workers as an inducement to lure groups of voters. Thought its shelf life is short, it is popular among Goans, and could be used to woo the voters in the interiors where only random checks are maintained,” a source told Herald.
The Excise Department or the Office of the Chief Electoral Officer are, however, yet to receive any formal complaint in this regard. Excise Commissioner Amit Sathija said they have not received any complaints but assured that a close vigil is being kept in every corner of the State and at the borders.
“No complaint has come to us so far but our teams and flying squads are maintaining strict vigil across the State and the borders. The forest areas are also under the radar,” he told Herald. The officer asserted that their checks cover all spirits.
A senior official attached to flying squad said they have been manning main roads and other corners in all constituencies but it is difficult to monitor activities within cashew plantations. “If we get any information then we can raid the place but without that we can’t just walk in there,” he said, adding, “However, we have been raiding all suspected places and seizing illegal stocks of liquor.”
An election officer told Herald that they too have officials at different places in a bid to ensure money or liquor or expensive gifts are not used to woo the voters.