Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Ban bans

In the last two days, 171 people in Karnataka and neighbouring districts in Tamil Nadu have died after drinking poisonous locally-brewed alcohol. The 'hooch' is suspected to have been methyl alcohol rather than the drinkable ethyl variety.
Karnataka banned arrack last year. Clearly the ban has not worked. Liquor bans never do.
In Gujarat, alcohol is banned and has been for donkeys years. This means everyone has his or her own bootlegger, who will home-deliver the boooze you want, for a price. Everything is available; there's a whole economy that works to make it available. Typically, the local policemen, political neta, and goondas are part of the racket. Any individual who gets in the way of this very lucrative business is shunted out of the way, or intimidated into silence.
I figure things are no different here. The arrack ban probably benefits the very people who are supposed to enforce it. They look away, for a price.
That price is now 171 human lives.
It would be better if there was no ban, but quality standards instead.


Nandhu said...

it is a good point to ban the bans. but even under liberal regimes, hooch deaths happen. the govt needs to keep an eye. but did u see a report that said that four people drank the same hooch a day later and promptly popped it?


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