Illegal sale and production of illicit liquor spell trouble for DhanushaNine people died and three are critically ill after consuming hooch during Holi celebrations last week.
The District Police Office in Dhanusha has confiscated and destroyed a large quantity of illicit liquor and the ingredients used in making such liquor from 38 illegal breweries in the last two days.
Deputy Superintendent of Police Rameshowr Karki said they launched the drive to stop the production and sale of home-brewed alcohol following alcohol poisoning-related deaths in Ramdaiya in Dhanusha recently.
Nine people had died after drinking home-brewed liquor during the Holi festival on Wednesday. Six others were taken severely ill.
Ashok Jha, inspector of District Police Office in Dhanusha, said the sick people were receiving treatment at Janaki Medical College and Janakpur Provincial Hospital.
Police are yet to reveal the nature of the alcohol consumed by the victims, but locals say that they had drunk liquor containing toxic components.
Health experts warn that the consumption of such alcoholic products even in small doses could be lethal.
“We seized the raw materials and equipment used to prepare illicit liquors,” said Karki.
Police have also arrested seven individuals involved in the production, supply and sale of home-brewed alcohol in Dhanusha.
“The seized alcohol was brewed in Bhangaha. It was brought to Ramdaiya and supplied to various local eateries,” said Karki.
This is not the first incident of hooch-related deaths in Dhanusha district. Nineteen people had died of alcohol poisoning in 1992, six in 2006 and seven in 2018.
The District Police Office claim that they have been launching crackdowns on the production and sale of illicit liquor. However, the lawmakers of Province 2 during Monday’s assembly meeting blamed the police for allowing the illegal production and sale of liquor.
Shivachandra Chaudhary, a provincial assembly member of Nepali Congress, blamed the police for protecting illegal brewers.
“The production, sale and consumption of toxic liquor are rife in Dhanusha, as police are doing nothing to shut down these illegal businesses,” he said.
Upendra Mahato, a provincial assembly member of Rastriya Janata Party, said the police chief of Dhanusha should take responsibility for the deaths of those nine people killed by illegal alcohol.
Province 2 assembly members also demanded strong action against the persons responsible for the supply and sale of toxic alcohol. They also pressurised the provincial government to take measures to curb illegal production and distribution of alcohol in the region.
Responding to assembly members demand, Gyanendra Yadav, minister of internal affairs and law, claimed that all illegal liquor shops and breweries in the province would be shut down within three days.
“The ministry is taking the strong measures to stop illegal production and distribution of alcohol,” said Yadav.
The ministry has directed all police offices in the province to immediately shut down illegal breweries and shops that sell home-brewed liquor.
“We will take action against the respective police unit chief if he/she fails to comply with the orders,” said Yadav.