Dog squad to curb smuggling of illicit liquor through Delhi’s Asola | Latest News Delhi - Hindustan Times
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Dog squad to curb smuggling of illicit liquor through Delhi’s Asola

Feb 19, 2024 05:36 AM IST

A canine unit will be trained and handed over to forest guards to help patrol the boundaries of Asola Bhatti Wildlife Sanctuary

The Delhi forest and wildlife department is planning to deploy a dog squad at the Asola Bhatti Wildlife Sanctuary to check the illicit smuggling of country-made liquor from Haryana to the Capital, officials aware of the matter have said.

HT on July 1, 2021 reported that smugglers have created makeshift dirt tracks cutting through Asola Bhatti to smuggle large quantities of liquor into Delhi from Haryana, and have broken a portion of the sanctuary’s boundary wall, which was right next to a liquor store. (Sanjeev Verma/HT PHOTO)
HT on July 1, 2021 reported that smugglers have created makeshift dirt tracks cutting through Asola Bhatti to smuggle large quantities of liquor into Delhi from Haryana, and have broken a portion of the sanctuary’s boundary wall, which was right next to a liquor store. (Sanjeev Verma/HT PHOTO)

The department has written to the eco-task force (ETF) at the sanctuary to form a proposal to train the canine unit, officials said, adding that once the training is complete, the dogs will be handed over to forest guards to help patrol the boundaries of Asola Bhatti.

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ETF comprises personnel from the 132 Infantry Battalion of the territorial army, who have been deployed in the southern Ridge since 2000 as part of a project sanctioned by the Delhi government to revive and rejuvenate the degraded Asola and Bhatti areas.

“We have asked ETF to draft a proposal on the number of dogs that will be needed to cover the sanctuary, and the expected cost. Once the dogs are trained, they will be handed over to forest guards on the ground,” Delhi’s chief wildlife warden Suneesh Buxy said, adding that though instances of liquor smuggling were on the decline over the past two years, a dog squad is being looked at as a long-term solution to the problem.

“They will also be trained to identify narcotics and sniff them out. Kennels will be created within the sanctuary to keep the dogs there full-time,” Buxy said.

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HT on July 1, 2021 reported that smugglers have created makeshift dirt tracks cutting through Asola Bhatti to smuggle large quantities of liquor into Delhi from Haryana, and have broken a portion of the sanctuary’s boundary wall, which was right next to a liquor store in Haryana.

A second forest official said liquor is smuggled into Delhi from Sarang village in Haryana —located inside the sanctuary — with bootleggers mostly travelling at night.

“The liquor is brought to Sangam Vihar, as it is located next to the sanctuary. These bootleggers mostly travel on foot. Earlier, they would use two-wheelers as the sanctuary walls had openings, which have since been plugged,” the official said, on condition of anonymity.

Buxy said the dog squad will also help protect forest guards and rangers on the ground — there have been several instances in the past where bootleggers attacked forest officials. The most recent example was in September 2021, when four forest guards were attacked by a group of around 25 bootleggers, resulting in them sustaining grievous injuries and requiring hospitalisation.

After the incident, the forest department had written to the Delhi Police, seeking assistance to patrol the sanctuary. However, no additional manpower was provided to them.

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