All pervasive corruption behind repeated hooch tragedies: Former copsDecember 15th, 2011 - 9:06 pm ICT by IANS
Kolkata, Dec 15 (IANS) Lure of more money leads liquor manufacturers to take to setting up spurious liquor distilleries, with the administration as well as politicians turning a blind eye - till a tragedy like the liquor deaths in West Bengal shakes everybody up to take action, say former senior police officials.
They said keenness of the government to earn revenue through sale of liquor coupled with ‘all pervasive corruption’ are two reasons for the frequent human tragedies due to consumption of spurious liquor.
“The sale of liquor is a big source of revenue and the government is always keen on giving out licences that opens up avenues for trade in such liquor. The licence holders often set up distilleries for spurious liquor as it is very rewarding,” Amiya Samanta, former director general (intelligence) of West Bengal police, told IANS.
He also blamed corruption for the growing spurious liquor trade.
“The fuel behind the trade is the all pervasive corruption. The excise department, the police as well as the politicians turn a blind eye until there is a big tragedy like this. The action taken on such occasions is mere eyewash. The problem can be tackled only if there is a strong will of the government. Until then such tragedies will keep recurring,” added Samanta.
Another former DGP, B.P. Saha blamed the liquor trader-politician nexus for the menace and called for a ban on drinking in rural areas.
“The menace continues to grow because of the political patronage enjoyed by the manufacturers. These people are a big source of funds for politicians and they use these connections to get away even after killing hundreds.
“I strongly recommend prohibition on drinking in rural areas. Apart from killing the consumers they also destroy the families economically as most of their income is spent on drinking,” Saha said.
He blamed the excise and police for the reluctance to curb the hazard and said “So long as the administration, especially the excise department, and the police continue to sleep, such deaths will continue to happen.”
Retired DGP of West Bengal Police Bhupinder Singh also held the excise department’s “inefficiency” and corrupt politicians for the repeated hooch tragedies.
“It is the job of the excise department to check this peril, but unfortunately they most of the times fail to take the desired steps. Moreover, the manufacturers often enjoy political patronage which allows them to continue the trade no matter how many lives are lost because of their products,” said Singh.
He too suggested region-specific ban on drinking as a remedial measure.
“Since most of those who consume such drinks are from the rural areas, there can be a region specific ban on drinking or for that matter, governmental arrangements can be made for providing better quality drinks at lower rates in those areas.”
In one of the worst ever hooch tragedies in India, at least 128 people died and over 100 were hospitalised after consuming hooch in liquor dens in South 24 Parganas’ Diamond Harbour sub-division.
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Tags: dgp, distilleries, excise department, hooch, human tragedies, licence holders, liquor trade, nexus, pervasive corruption, police officials, political patronage, politician, prohibition, reluctance, rural areas, saha, source of funds, spurious liquor, turning a blind eye, west bengal police