Suryakant Jena

The Odisha Police has seized over one lakh litres of liquor from across the State during a special drive against trade of alcohol in the run-up to the Panchayat polls.

The purpose of the crackdown is to make the forthcoming three-tier elections to the Panchayati Raj institutions free from any untoward incident.

A statement issued by the Odisha police said that during the strict enforcement of the Model Code of Conduct a total of 113686.19 litres of liquor has been seized from across 34 police districts between January 19 and February 6, 2022.

As many as 27 illegal firearms were also seized during enforcement drives while a total of 1492 warrantees were rounded up by the police, stated the police statement addressed to the State Election Commission.

Similarly, 471.86 grams of narcotics drugs were seized by the inspection teams during the drive. 

Giving the break-up, the police said more than 70 thousand litres of liqour have been seized from Balasore making it the highest among all police districts. Similarly, out of the total 27, a maximum of 8 arms were seized from Rourkela Police district limits. 

Likewise, 201 warrants have been executed in Balasore, the highest among all police districts followed by Ganjam (171).

The State Excise Department has urged people with any complaint on illegal liquor to file their grievance on Toll-Free No. 18003456713. The control rooms set up at the district-level will help redress the grievance. 

The Odisha government has already imposed a ban on sale and distribution of liquor 48 hours before the commencement of voting.

The restriction will come into force two days before the polling and remain effective throughout the voting day and till the next day during each of the five phases of the election.

The three-tier Panchayat elections in Odisha will be held in five phases on February 16, 18, 20, 22 and 24, 2022. The counting of votes, which will be done at all Block headquarters, will be held on February 26, 27 and 28.