STATE GOVERNMENTS of Assam, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand have reached out to city-based CSIR-National Chemical Laboratory (NCL) to look for scientific solutions to detect spurious liquor to help curb incidents related to consumption of illicit liquor. This was prompted by three major tragedies involving consumption of illicit liquor that killed hundreds in these states in February.
A team of scientists from NCL visited Assam last week and interacted with members of the excise department. “Our scientists were in Assam for some other official duty last week. But, during an interaction with the excise department, the team was asked if the NCL could help develop any solution that could easily detect spurious chemicals in country liquor. However, the NCL is yet to accept the proposal as we are taking stock whether the laboratory can actually develop such a solution. Also, the NCL has not developed anything like this before, so we are yet to finalise,” an official spokesperson from the NCL told The Indian Express on Friday.
Over 150 tea estate workers hailing from Golaghat and Jorhat districts of Assam had died after consuming illicit liquor, last month. Not only this, over 70 people died in a similar hooch tragedy in UP and Uttarakhand in February.
Chemicals such as methyl alcohol are added to country liquor, often sold at low prices, to spike alcohol levels. It is, however, unknown whether the NCL will develop a possible solution. It is also unclear as to who will be using this solution aimed at tracing harmful chemicals mixed with liquor.
Despite repeated attempts, The Indian Express could not speak to the team that visited Assam or ascertain if the NCL was planning to develop any such solution.