Kathmandu, August 27 Police on Wednesday raided an illegal brewing outlet in Fulbari Marg, Karyabinayak-2 of Lalitpur and confiscated nearly 2,120 litres of bootleg liquor, raw material and utensils used for producing hooch. The owner of the brewing outlet is still at large. Production, supply and consumption of moonshine is rampant in the Kathmandu Valley and other parts of the country. Police said they have stepped up crackdown on such brewing outlets in response to a special request from the Inland Revenue Office and in view of a spurt in hooch-related crimes. The bootleggers supply huge quantities of liquor to the market and avoid paying taxes to the government. During the crackdown on hooch trade so far in this fiscal, police have dismantled half a dozen brewing outlets with over 30,000 litres of unlicensed liquor being seized. District administration offices in the Valley have also ordered action against unauthorised alcohol suppliers. During these raids, police 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. Police said they destroyed the seized liquor in the presence of representatives from police, revenue office, local clubs and civil society. The culprits have been handed over to the Inland Revenue Office to press tax evasion charges against them. Officials claimed that local people have supported the anti-hooch campaign as alcohol is a leading cause of family disputes and domestic violence. “This initiative is part of a public-police partnership programme,” said a senior police official. According to police, hooch trade is rife in Bouddha, Swoyambhu, Kalopul, Ratopul, Balaju, Koteshwor and on the outskirts of Kathmandu (Tinthana, Jorpati, Sundarijal, Bishnu VDC, 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 study ‘Prevalence and Predictors of Alcohol Consumption among the Squatters of Kathmandu Valley’ by Nepal Health Research Council last year 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 problem of alcohol consumption among these groups,” says the report.