Punjab hooch deaths: Amarinder Singh mulls death penalty for guilty

By: |
August 26, 2020 1:25 PM

The Congress government in Punjab is facing flak over the recent hooch tragedy in the state. At least 123 people have died after consuming spurious liquor.

Amarinder Singh is facing severe flack from the opposition ranks after the recent hooch tragedy that claimed 123 lives.

The Amarinder Singh government in Punjab is mulling death penalty for manufacturers and suppliers of spurious liquor in case anyone dies, a report in The Indian Express said.

The Congress government is facing flak over the recent hooch tragedy in the state. At least 123 people have died after consuming spurious liquor.

The IE report said that the Excise and Taxation Department has moved a proposal to amend Section 61 of the Punjab Excise Act, 1914 and also add new clauses. It mandates upto three years in jail and Rs 10 lakh in fine for unlawful import, export, transport, manufacture and possession of any intoxicant.

The department’s proposal has recommended to enhance the punishment from three years to five years and fine from Rs 10 lakh to Rs 20 lakh, it said. If anyone suffers permanent disability after consuming spurious liquor, the guilty should be given life imprisonment.

Chief Minister Amarinder Singh is in charge of the Excise and Taxation Department portfolio.

A government functionary told the IE that the department has already moved a proposal. The proposal will be placed before the Cabinet for approval and then tabled in the Legislative Assembly.

Earlier this month, the Punjab Police added Section 302 (murder) of IPC in cases against all the kingpins in the hooch tragedy in Tarn Taran, Amritsar and Gurdaspur.

Punjab Excise Commissioner had earlier this month issued a slew guidelines for transportation of Ethyl Neutral Alcohol (ENA), Ethanol, Specially Denatured Spirit (SDS), Denatured Spirits (DNS), and Rectified Spirit (RS). The order said that vehicles must be GPS enabled with effect from September 5 and also co-ordinates of the tankers be preserved for a period of not less than 15 days from the date of completion of delivery of a consignment.

It said that tankers shall be sealed by the unit before dispatch and be broken only by the recipient. The tankers in no case stop enroute its destination except for refuelling, or food for the driver. If the vehicle stops enroute, except in case of a breakdown, it will be presumed that the vehicle has been stopped for pilferage. In case of a breakdown, it will be the manufacturing unit’s duty to inform the Excise Officer in charge within 15 minutes.

In another order issued on August 24, the Punjab Excise Commissioner pointed out the need to regulate the transport of material to manufacturing units. It directed that distilleries shall use only denaturants, which have been permitted under laws.

It said that distilleries shall ensure that the material being dispatched for hand sanitizer manufacturing shall be blue in color.

The commissioner had on August 20 issued a dedicated complaint number 9875961126 for lodging excise related complaints.

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