Briefing about the provisions regarding Methyl alcohol, Sri Sanjay R Bhoosreddy, Additional Chief Secretary, Excise has told that Methyl Alcohol is a poison, declared under the Poison Act. Now provisions have been made to issue licences and permits for the possession and sale of methyl alcohol and for it the District Magistrate has been authorised as the licensing authority. Under the rules, in addition to the Magistrate, Police Officer, Revenue Officer, Medical Officer and officers of Excise and Industries not below the rank of inspector are empowered to inspect these licenses. In relation to the effective implementation of the provisions, at district level, a three-member nodal committee would be constituted consisting Additional Superintendent of Police as member and District Excise Officer as member/convenor under the chairmanship of Additional District Magistrate nominated by the District Magistrate / Licensing Authority.
The Addl. Chief Secretary has told that orders have been issued to keep a strict vigil on the use of methyl alcohol. If any other unit, besides the licensed units for producing methyl alcohol, then strict action shall be taken against such unit. Production, storage and sale of methyl alcohol would be closely monitored and the tanks and containers of methyl alcohol would be clearly marked with methyl alcohol. It has been made mandatory for the tankers transporting methyl alcohol to be marked with information and legal warning in bold and white letters about the toxic substance being transported and poison sign to be inscribed compulsorily on both sides of the tanker. The tankers shall be properly sealed to ensure that methyl alcohol can’t be stolen from the tanker and only after confirming it, the tanker shall be despatched.
It was also informed by the Additional Chief Secretary that strict action would be taken against the person found indulged in illegal trade of methyl alcohol. In case of death due to consumption of illicit liquor made from methyl alcohol and the seizure of illicit liquor in large quantities, the accountability of the local Excise and police officers and personnels would be fixed. Gangster Act and NSA shall be invoked against those found involved in the activities of illicit liquor and action shall be taken to confiscate their property.
The Addl.Chief Secretary has informed that under the sections of the Excise Act, every officer of the police and land revenue departments are bound to give immediate information to the Excise Department of all breaches of any of the provisions of this Act which may come to his knowledge and to assist the Excise Department in carrying out the operation. Officers of the Excise Department shall also co-operate with police officers in the detection and prosecution of Excise offences. In addition to it, every person who owns or occupies any land or building and the agent of such owner or occupier, on or in which there has been any unlawful manufacture of any intoxicant and every lekhpal or chaukidar in whose jurisdiction such land or building is situated is bound to give information to a magistrate or to an officer of the excise, police or land revenue department immediately.
Explaining Section 60A of the Excise Act amended recently, the Addl. Chief Secretary has told that if anyone sells any noxious substance in garb of an intoxicant and it causes death or grievous injury, he may be punished with death or imprisonment for life and is also liable to fine which may extend to ten lakh rupees but shall not be less than five lakh rupees.
The Addl. Chief Secretary has also told that the list of liquor mafias would be closely looked over and it would also be ensured that no offender is acquitted or his name has not been omitted from the charge sheet. By taking the action of revision under section 319, the name will be ensured to be included again as per rules. In all such cases in which more than 1,000 litres of illicit liquor, chemicals or spirit have been recovered, it has been ordered to review each and every case. The field officers have been instructed for immediate identification of suspected dhabas and places located on the highways and to take strict action without delay.
The Addl. Chief Secretary has appealed to the general public not to buy liquor from illegal sources. Such liquor may be made of methyl alcohol or denatured spirit which can cause loss vision or death. In this regard, instructions have been given to all the concerned to issue warnings in electronic media and newspapers at regular intervals and to spread the above information widely by distributing hand bills among the general public.