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Rural Punjab high on ' lizard liquor'.

THE drug-addled state of Punjab faces a new crisis -- illicit liquor prepared with lizard skin, alprazolam tablets and Iodex.

Dozens of illicit home distilleries located in many parts of the state are producing country-made liquor which guarantees a stronger kick than any other form of alcohol.

Sources revealed that the liquor mafia is using lizard skins, alprazolam tablets and Iodex, besides intoxicating powders, to make the brew stronger.

Earlier, ingredients such as rose petals, zeera and mint were used to prepare homemade liquor.

Punjab is known for a variety of country-made liquors which are prepared using rice, wheat, maize, jaggery and citrus fruits.

Country-made liquor is considered better than the liquor sold at vends.

On Tuesday morning, the state police raided the Mahalam village under Fazilka district and seized lizard skin, alprazolam tablets and several bottles of Iodex, which were being used to prepare a knockdown brew.

"We have destroyed over two lakh litres of country-made liquor which was being made in a dozen illegal distilleries in the village.

Lizard skin, alprazolam tablets and Iodex has also been seized.

Cases have been registered against 23 villagers," Fazilka senior superintendent of police (SSP) Swapan Sharma said.

The story does not end here.

Villagers in many parts of the state prepare and drink strange brews which were till now never heard of. Jalandhar district's Sangowal village is known for its urea drink. The drink guarantees a strong kick.

People come here regularly in the evenings to buy the drink.

Sangowal lies on the banks of river Sutlej and has around 2,000 inhabitants. Sources say half of the population of this village is engaged in brewing and selling the urea drink which is prepared by mixing urea, jaggery and special soil cakes called Gachi or Gachni.

Preparation of this liquor (called a sharbat to mislead the police) is simple. The ingredients are mixed with water and filled in a tyre tube which is buried under hot sand for 24 hours.

"We have no source of income except preparing the liquor. It is easy and this is how we make ends meet," a village youth said.

Some residents of Sangowal also sell smack and heroin.

Four youngsters of the village have already lost their lives due to their addiction, but residents, including the womenfolk, continue to sell the ' intoxicating sharbat'.

AFTER the Punjab police launched a drive against sale of drugs, peddlers in the state have now started using social media to sell the narcotic substances.

Social networking sites are replete with a number of social groups and fanpages which openly talk about drugs. Besides Facebook, the smugglers are using Twitter and popular phone app, WhatsApp, to supply drugs. ' Amlion Ki Mehfil, Nashedio ki Toli, Afik Ke Shaukin, Punjabi Amli and Amli Munde' are some of the popular Facebook pages and groups which have thousands of followers.

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Publication:Mail Today (New Delhi, India)
Geographic Code:9INDI
Date:Jul 6, 2014
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