Kathmandu, December 20
Police raided illegal brewing outlets in Basundhara, Dhapasi Height and Tilingetar areas and confiscated around 1,000 litres of bootleg liquor, raw materials and utensils used for producing hooch.
According to Nepal Police, it has stepped up a campaign to dismantle the brewing outlets and discourage the production, supply and consumption of moonshine throughout the country, including in Kathmandu Valley.
Senior Superintendent of Police Uttam Raj Subedi, Nepal Police spokesperson, said 79,054 litres of hooch was seized so far this fiscal. He informed that they destroyed the seized liquor in the presence of representatives of police, revenue office, local clubs and civil society.
The nationwide crackdown comes after the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Inland Revenue Department sounded an alarm over hooch-related crimes and non-taxpayer brewing outlets.
The bootleggers supply huge quantities of liquor to the market, but do not pay tax to the government as they are not registered with the concerned agency. They are not under the tax net like the registered alcohol industries.
Police said over 500 illegal brewing outlets were dismantled during the period from mid-July to mid-November. During these raids, police also seized a huge cache of raw materials unfit for human consumption, utensils, inedible chemicals used for increasing the potency of liquor and animal body parts. District administration offices have also ordered action against unauthorised alcohol suppliers.
Police said the locals had supported the anti-hooch campaign as it was a leading cause of family disputes, domestic violence and other crimes. According to police, hooch trade is rife in Bouddha, Swoyambhu, Kalopul, Ratopul, Balaju, Koteshwor and on the outskirts of Kathmandu (Tinthana, Jorpati, Sundarijal, Chapali Bhadrakali and Manamaiju).
Production, sale and consumption of hooch is rife in urban areas and among people who cannot afford licensed liquor. Studies show such liquor may be laced with methanol which could send the drinkers into coma and cause them permanent blindness immediately.
A recent study ‘Prevalence and Predictors of Alcohol Consumption among the Squatters of Kathmandu Valley’ by Nepal Health Research Council showed that 39.81 per cent of Nepal’s population consumed alcohol with consumption being the highest amongst the impoverished.
“For low earning groups like the urban poor, heavy drinking may further impoverish them, their family or community, increasing health and social harm. It is a matter of high importance to address the problem of alcohol consumption among these groups,” states the report.
A version of this article appears in print on December 21, 2018 of The Himalayan Times.