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Breath tests for revellers

Jamshedpureans planning to visit picnic spots next weekend may do well to stay off alcohol.

For, joint crack teams of the excise department and traffic police, who have started keeping a tab on tipsy trouble-mongers at weekend getaways, will be armed with breathalysers when they go inspecting on Saturdays, Sundays and other special occasions like New Year’s eve.

This is the first time that the special device, which can detect blood alcohol content from a breath sample of a person, will be used during winter festive vigil. District traffic police will supply the four breathalysers, which will be in action at Dimna Lake in Patamda, Hudco Lake in Telco, Bhetiya Park in Kadma and Jubilee Park in Bistupur and also on approach roads leading to these hotspots. Normal vigil will be on at Burudih Dam in Ghatshila and Narwapahar in Jadugoda.

Speaking to The Telegraph, assistant commissioner (excise) of Jamshedpur Rakesh Kumar said the decision to use breathalysers was taken on the basis of feedback they received from the squad that inspected the picnic spots last weekend. The 25-member group, comprising inspectors, sub-inspectors and constables from the excise department, had carried out surveillance in two shifts — one in the morning and the other in the evening.

“During the drive, our squad found several youths reeking of liquor at Jubilee Park and Dimna Lake. But they had no way of confirming the suspicion, as there were no liquor bottles and the team did not have breathalysers. It’s quite obvious that the groups had consumed liquor somewhere else before coming to the picnic spots. Hence, we had to rework our strategy and bring in breathalysers,” Kumar said.

Apart from Saturdays and Sundays, the gadget will be used on December 31, January 1, January 14 and January 26, when the number of picnickers swell. “Since we don’t have too many hands, we are taking the help of traffic police, especially on approach roads leading to the picnic spots,” said the senior excise official.

Promising all co-operation, deputy superintendent of police (traffic) R.M. Sinha said traffic personnel manning the approach roads were trained in taking breathalyser tests. “We will work in tandem with the excise department on roads leading to Jubilee Park, Dimna Road in Mango (for Dimna Lake), Telco Main Road (for Hudco Lake) and Shastrinagar-Kadma Road (for Bhetiya Park). Tests will be done under supervision of senior excise officials,” he added.

As many youths either use bikes or cars, they will be fined for drunk driving if they fail the alcohol test.

Offenders will have to pay Rs 1,000. The amount will be doubled in case of repetition of the offence, while a third-time offender can be sent to jail for three to six months. Drinking in public places and sparking ruckus can attract a maximum fine of Rs 10,000 and a jail term of three months.