Death by methanol

Source: This post has been created based on the article “Death by methanol”, published in The Hindu on 16th May 2023.

Syllabus Topic: GS Paper 2 – Governance – Government policies for various sectors

News: In two recent incidents in north Tamil Nadu, 17 people died and 50 were hospitalized after consuming spurious or illicit liquor.

Notably, these incidents occurred just one month after the state government reported no such alcohol-related incidents over the last 14 years.

Also, NCRB and union government reported a significant reduction in deaths caused by illegal alcohol from 2016 to 2021.

What measures were taken by the Tamil Nādu Government?

Since 2002, methanol has been brought under the ambit of the Tamil Nadu Prohibition Act, 1937. Methanol is said to be the main reason behind hooch tragedies.

Tamil Nadu Denatured Spirit, Methyl Alcohol and Varnish (French Polish) Rules, 1959 was also amended to control methanol supply.

What are the shortcomings behind these incidents?

The recent events highlight administrative shortcomings, including insufficient regulation of methanol and a lack of monitoring of cheaper brews that compete with official retail outlets.

These incidents underscore the need for a consistent and thorough policy to tackle the issue of illegal alcohol, along with a strict commitment to zero tolerance for this issue.

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