Rattled by the public outcry over illegal liquor sale that claimed 173 lives in South 24-Parganas district a week ago, the hooch-sellers have demanded a financial package as a pre-condition to discarding their trade on the lines of the one announced for the Maoists.
The bootleggers have formed a committee for this purpose and pasted posters on the walls of the Joynagar railway station, close to Sangrampur, from where most of the victims hailed, requesting a financial package 'to start a new life'.
''We want to do away with the country liquor business and seek a financial package announced by the state government for Maoists and extremists like KLO,'' the posters read.
The posters said that they had formed a 'Jiban Sangram Committee', seeking the 'mercy' of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for a financial package 'to eke out a living'.
''While Maoists can be offered such a package and assistance even after killing innocent people, we can expect such help from our chief minister,'' the posters said.
One of the hooch-sellers told reporters that their livelihood was in jeopardy as angry villagers razed liquor joints and distilleries after the deaths.
''We are now totally jobless. We want to lead a new life and we cannot die with our family for want of food,'' he said.
The posters also demanded immediate arrest of hooch racket kingpin Khonra Badshah who was still at large.
Villagers said that nearly 20,000 people were engaged in the illicit liquor trade in nearly 3,000 illegal joints and small distilleries spread over Mograhat, Joynagar, Usthi, Mandirbazar, Baruipur, Gocharan and other areas in the district.