Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, July 26:
The Justice AS Naidu Commission report probing the hooch tragedy in Odisha’s Khordha and Cuttack districts in 2012, which had claimed 41 precious lives, will be tabled in the Odisha Assembly today, sources said.
The tabling of the report remains a mere formality as its contents and recommendations have already been published in the media a few days ago. The opposition had accused the government of leaking it to the media before its tabling in the House.
According to the leaked contents, the Commission has recommended a hike in value added tax (VAT) levied on medical preparations with high alcohol content to prevent such deaths.
Among the other recommendations of the report are action against illicit liquor distilleries, steps to control production, import of methyl alcohol and denature spirit, strengthening of enforcement squads of the drug controller and strict vigil on the alcohol supplied to and consumed by pharmaceutical units.
The report is learnt to have also suggested imposition of restrictions on production of medicines with more than 20% alcohol content, formation of multi-department squads under the district Collector to collect information on illicit liquor, check on all homeopathy medicine stores twice a month and closing down of unregistered medicine stores.
The Commission, in its report, has also suggested a toll free number for complaints to be lodged and financial assistance to the whistle-blowers.
It also recommended preparation of a data bank of all medicine manufacturers, opening of excise police stations at every police station in the state, engagement of adequate officials and setting up of excise check gates to stop inter-state illegal trading.
The Commission has recommended to the General Administration department stricter implementation of the Excise Act, 2008. It said the government must ensure that Collectors take the opinion of excise official before granting of No Objection Certificate (NOC) to medicine manufacturers.