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Bootleggers smuggle alcohol from states in tetra packs during stringent lockdown
Weight issues or breakage or sound are no longer matters of concerns while transporting alcoholic beverages as tetra pack liquors are coming in handy for bootleggers, who are using this packaging method to smuggle alcohol from neighbouring states to Tamil Nadu during the second lockdown.
Liquor shops, controlled by the Tasmac have been closed ever since the lockdown was imposed in May. Last year, when lockdown was imposed in Chennai and a few neighbouring districts, bootleggers could smuggle liquor from other districts to the city regularly. However, this time, with the total lockdown imposed across the State, bootleggers have been left with no option but to cross borders and smuggle in alcohol.
“This lockdown has been so strict that even vehicles carrying vegetables are not being allowed. However, essential commodities like milk and others’ transportation have been allowed. In this scenario, tetra pack liquors came to our mind so we could keep serving our customers,” B Prakash (name changed), member of a bootlegger team operating in Andhra border said.
Prakash pointed out that there would be an agent, who would ensure that the liquor crosses the border and reaches Gummudipoondi here, and another bootlegger would collect and distribute it according to the requirement of his “sub-agents”, who later sell it in their respective areas.
Explaining the advantage of tetra pack liquors being smuggled, he said even a cyclist could get it from the liquor selling agent and carry it in his shirt pocket with no suspicions being raised. “A few agents carry the liquor packs in plastic trays with milk packets on the top to evade checking,” he added.
“Since adulteration is not possible in tetra packs, most customers are eager to purchase it,” he claimed, adding, “Even if it falls on the ground, there would not be any breakage.”
Stating that it was first juices and then milk, a senior official from Tasmac also added that apart from Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra governments allow liquor companies to sell liquor in tetra packs. “There was a proposal to introduce tetra packs in Tamil Nadu. But the liquor price would shoot up with such packaging so it didn’t happen here,” he added.
Another bootlegger said the tetra pack liquor, which comes only for 180ml, can be sold four times higher than the MRP. “We have also restricted to selling a minimum of four packs to each customer,” he added.