Tamil Nadu

CM Stalin Has An Illicit Liquor Problem On His Hands And Needs To Act Fast

S Rajesh

Jun 20, 2024, 01:01 PM | Updated Jun 21, 2024, 01:00 PM IST

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin must act fast and tough on the illicit liquor issue.
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin must act fast and tough on the illicit liquor issue.
  • Stronger steps than suspensions and arrests must be taken to prevent loss of lives due to illicit liquor consumption.
  • In Tamil Nadu's Kallakurichi district, 33 people have died and 15 are in critical condition after they consumed illicit liquor.

    One of the accused, Kannukutty, has been arrested by the police, and 200 litres of illicit liquor have been seized from him.

    He had allegedly mixed methanol (an alcohol used for industrial purposes) to produce the liquor that was consumed by people.

    The state government has suspended the Superintendent of Police and transferred the District Collector. The case has been transferred to the Crime Branch, Criminal Investigation Department, for investigation.

    About a year ago, over 20 people had lost their lives and several others had been hospitalised due to the consumption of illicit liquor in nearby Villupuram and Chengalpattu districts.

    The recurring nature of the issue has led K Annamalai, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) state president, to come down heavily on Chief Minister M K Stalin.

    In a post on X, he said that while his party had previously only asked for the dismissal of S Muthusamy, the excise and prohibition minister, the number of deaths in the past two years should make Stalin ponder if he had the moral right to continue holding his post.

    Annamalai wrote further that his party members will visit the victims' families to express their support in this time of grief, and a statewide agitation will be held over the issue on 22 June.

    Last year, the BJP and the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) demanded the dismissal of the then-excise and prohibition minister, V Senthil Balaji, and minority affairs minister Gingee Masthan.

    Masthan was allegedly connected to one of the kingpins of the network, Marur Raja.

    In the days after last year's tragedy, state police said that over 1,500 people had been arrested and over 1,800 cases had been filed.

    The opposition had said at the time that such a large network of people involved in the spurious liquor business would not have remained operational without the administration and politicians turning a blind eye.

    While Stalin has said he is shocked and saddened by the deaths in Kallakurichi and that action has been taken against officials, the recurrence of deaths due to hooch and the many people affected on account of it have created a bad image for him and his party.

    The illicit liquor problem in the state is serious, and he, therefore, needs to act fast.

    Measures like the suspension of officers and the arrest of the people involved are not sufficient. Stronger steps must be taken to prevent such incidents from even occurring in the first place.

    After all, that is why the state has a ministry of 'prohibition.'

    S Rajesh is Staff Writer at Swarajya.

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