The Nava Sinhala Ravaya General Secretary Magalkande Sudantha Thero last week charged the Department of Excise is akin to a den of thieves, and its officials are engaged in providing protection to artificial toddy racketeers in the country.
Speaking at a media conference, the Thero stated the apprehension of several Excise Officials with the drug ‘ice’ in Puttalam last week proves his continuous claim that Excise Department officials are corrupt. He called on the President to investigate and apprehend all politicians and corrupt officials engaged in drug smuggling and supporting the artificial toddy trade.
Furthermore, Magalkande Sudantha Thero pointed out that the Government loses over Rs. 50 billion annually as a result of the artificial toddy industry, adding it was imperative to take action to safeguard human health and Government revenues.
Artificial toddy is a growing problem in Sri Lanka, and research has shown that up to 40% of bottled toddy in the country is brewed using chemicals, which are significantly harmful to human health. Some of this adulterated toddy contains toxic tablets known as Ceylon Paste and Diazepam, which is a muscle relaxant.
The General Secretary of the Nava Sinhala Ravaya added he has made numerous requests for information from the Excise Department under the Right to Information Act to combat this racket, but he is yet to receive any information from officials.