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Hooch tragedy UPSC NOTE

 

  • Over the last couple of days in Kallakurichi, in north Tamil Nadu, 39 people have died after consuming hooch laced with methanol

  • It is not as if the signs were not obvious, particularly after the hooch tragedy which claimed several lives in 2023 in Marakkanam and Madhuranthakam, also in north Tamil Nadu, where it was clear that industrial methanol was being diverted to the illicit brewing cottage industry. 

  • The relatives of those dead have spoken about the easy availability of cheap hooch in the region regularly, and that the cost of the local moonshine is much lower than the price of alcohol in the Tamil Nadu State Marketing Corporation Limited (TASMAC) shops. 

  • With irregular incomes as daily wage, fuelled by an aggressive price rise in liquor and fleecing at the TASMAC shops, regular drinkers gravitated towards the local brew

  • This trend is something that the Prohibition Enforcement Wing of the Tamil Nadu police is mandated to pick up, and act on.

  • Whatever is being done post-facto, is ultimately too little, too late. 

  • Methanol, also a form of alcohol, is added to moonshine to increase its strength

  • It is a potent poison, and even in very small quantities, can cause liver failure, blindness, and death. 

  • While various governments have shifted the State’s position on allowing or banning the brewing of arrack, one measure that seemed to have controlled deaths due to hooch after its introduction was selling low-cost liquor through TASMAC in 2002

  • That year, methanol was brought under the ambit of the Tamil Nadu Prohibition Act, and rules were amended to control methanol supply

  • However, in the light of Kallakurichi, it seems methanol flows freely. 

  • There can be no complacence about bringing the culprits to book. 

  • The government needs to shut down the small-scale industry of illicit brewing in the State, and should also expressly work towards increasing public health awareness on the inherent dangers of drinking hooch.

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Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam: Hooch tragedy UPSC NOTE
Hooch tragedy UPSC NOTE
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