Shocked householders went to fill their kettles only to find beer, brandy, and other alcoholic drinks pouring from their taps.
The bizarre incident occurred in an apartment complex in the town of Chalakudy, Kerala, in south-western India.
At least 18 homes were affected by the unexpected booze bonus on Monday.
The owner of the building, Joshy Malliyekkal, explained: “We use water from the well for cooking, drinking, bathing and everything else.
“At 4am on Monday, our neighbours who have school going children rang us up and said that water from the taps smelled bad.
“The mother was getting ready to cook for the children when she noticed the smelly water. Soon, all 18 families had the same complaint.”
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After some investigation, the alcoholic surprise was traced to customs and excise officials who had raided a nearby bar.
“Next to our apartment is the Rachana Bar,” Joshy told The News Minute: “Six years ago, this bar was shut down and their liquor stock sealed by the excise department.
“Now, the department completed the formalities related to disposal of the liquor and officials poured all the sealed liquor into a pit they had dug up within the compound,” he said.
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But the pit was very close to a well that served the apartment building.
The massive quantity of condemned booze broke through the wall separating the two, spoiling some 20,000 litres of drinking water intended for the 18 families.
“The whole apartment was paralysed because of this careless act by the excise department,” Joshy said.
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He said that the problem has now been sorted: “Now they have set up a separate tank and 2 lines of water connection have been given to our apartment.
“But the whole experience was very traumatic for us. My kids did not go to school for two days. We were managing with mineral water cans the whole of Sunday,” he added.
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It’s not enough though, he says: “We are going to file complaints with the district collector, health department, municipality, Thrissur Police Commissioner, MLA and MP until some action is taken against the excise sleuths."
Deputy Excise Commissioner TK Sanu responded, explaining that the Excise officials led by Irinjalakkuda Circle Inspector were unaware of the presence of the open well nearby.
“If we have to dump a huge quantity of liquor, we usually resort to options like distilleries. But here, it was just 2,000 bottles, so they decided to [dispose of it] by digging a pit.”
The Excise Department has started draining out water from the open well and begin operations . The owner of the bar has also offered to pay for mineral water to be supplied to the apartment’s residents, until the well has been repaired.
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