Sunday, April 18, 2021

Spurious liquor

Loss of at least 70 precious lives and many others undergoing treatment in the hospitals in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand after consuming spurious liquor is both unfortunate and tragic. This is particularly sad that people are dying of spurious liquor and food poisoning in the 21st century when the whole world is moving forward on many good things. The promises of improving the lives of the common masses through development initiatives appear to be hollow when such tragedies are happening under the very nose of the powers that are ruling the roost in UP and Uttarakhand. All the more, it is unfortunate that precious lives have been lost in two districts each of UP and Uttarakhand while many others are battling for their lives in the hospitals. Many of them lost their lives because they could not reach the hospitals well in time due to heavy rains and hailstorm at a time when the BJP-government at New Delhi is promising to provide health and medical care services at the doorsteps of the people across the country. The much-touted ambulances services for which the contracts have been awarded to some selected corporate houses in the country at hefty sums were nowhere to be seen at the hour of need. Now that the tragedy has struck many families, who have lost their bread earning members, the UP government appears to have woken up from its deep slumber and started inquiries and arrests of those responsible for selling the poisonous brew to the villagers at a mourning gathering. At least 30 persons are claimed to have been arrested by the police, which appears to be a knee-jerk reaction from the authorities. The state government making politically motivated statements that opposition party members were responsible for these incidents is preposterous and irresponsible. Blaming opposition parties for such tragedies appears to be the general rule of the ruling BJP in UP that ails the society and shrugging off its own responsibility of good governance. Preliminary inquiries suggest that a combination of urea, battery liquid, caustic soda and sedatives mixed with alcoholic brew is suspected to have turned the liquor into a poisonous material. If this is happening in the state, then excise officials are to be blamed for allowing the country liquor being peddled freely in the state. The regulation and distribution of appropriate liquor is the responsibility of the state government and not the opposition political parties. Tragedies like this one happening at one place or the other and taking heavy toll of the precious human lives on regular basis due to lackadaisical attitude of the law enforcing agencies, many more will be waiting to happen. It not only has something to do with the unscrupulous trade of few people, but the entire machinery of the administration is found involved neck deep in sharing the spoils from trade. In fact, the whole network runs like a mafia, which has become a law unto itself, in fleecing the poor people of their hard-earned money in one way or the other. Since the nationalization of liquor manufacturing and the trade and again privatization has dealt a severe blow to the entire gambit. New players with mafia background have come into play with patronization from the powers that be for running this trade. Somehow, the members of liquor mafia have diversified interests from small retailing units to controlling the media for effective management of their unlawful businesses for making quick money and keep control on the politicians also. In the recent years, some figures doled out by the private players have shown that Indian Manufactured Foreign Liquor (IMFL) being sold in the Indian markets under different brands do not produce that much volume of the liquor which is consumed and sold in the country. This clearly shows that there is something wrong somewhere and liquor barons in any part of the country have become reputed business houses and still growing and expanding economically. The liquor barons have also found their way into politics where they do not hesitate in show off, the power they wield on the basis of their cash rich chests behind them. They also go ahead with show off their intricate management of electoral vote politics wherein they have victory under their sleeves for the reasons best known to the law enforcing agencies. Until and unless some remedial measures are initiated, such tragedies will continue to happen without any check and claim precious lives of the poor masses.