Pune (Maharashtra, India): In order to crack down on the generations-old illicit liquor manufacturing business in Maharashtra’s Solapur district, IPS officer and Superintendent of Police (SP) Tejaswi Satpute here has successfully attempted shifting the lives of those involved in the trade to safe and respectable alternative livelihoods.
‘Operation Parivartan,’ the name coined by Satpute herself, has effectively cracked down on illicit liquor dens and rehabilitated 345 tribal families by providing them an alternative source of income.
This is the first kind of operation in which police not only eradicate illegal dens but also rehabilitate and provide alternative income sources to those involved in it.
Launched in August 2021, the operation restored around 345 families to take up alternate sources of income like auto rickshaw, kirana shops, vada pav stalls, and cultivating agri lands within a span of just seven months.
When Satpute took charge she came to know that people from Banjara and Laman communities were mostly engaged in the illicit liquor trade. “Because of the lack of education and poor economic situation in this area, they are unable to find alternative income sources,” she added.
After a detailed study of this illicit liquor trade and regular raids in the factories, Satpute started categorising her further course of action in categories such as adoption of one village to each officer, and rehabilitation cross checks.
It was noticed that, once officers raided the liquor factory then immediately after 2/3 days the unit would set up again and manufacturing would start in full swing. As they know, police officers won't visit again for at least one month.
Considering this Satpute decided to raid twice a week by destroying all manufacturing materials, equipments they would find. As a result of interrupted manufacturing and sale of liquor, brewers faced difficulties to get raw material. Police also arrested and filed cases against big operators under non-bailable offences which built pressure on small brewers.
In the next phase, officers identified around 622 families, in 120 villages, which had been directly involved in illicit liquor business from generation to generation. The police distributed 120 villages among 165 officers who were responsible for curbing illicit liquor trade in particular villages and monitoring raids on every Wednesday and Saturday. Each allocated officer was given a task of searching an alternative source of income for the affected family by considering skillset.
Satpute said, “We have not only provided them an only alternate source of income, but also our officers helped them to set their businesses/income sources. ''With the help of various government departments like Agriculture, Banks, Skill Development, Food Department we are rehabilitating affected families and this process is going on.”
Erstwhile liquor trader Datta Bhoi had the capacity to produce 100 litres per day had quit the work with the help of API Ankush Mane started a small Kirana Shop in Kamti Village. “Frequent raids, incurred heavy financial losses. I was frustrated but Mane saheb helped me to raise money for my new business,” Bhoi added.
Satpute informed that today not a single family out of the total 345 rehabilitated ones have gone back to illicit liquor trade.