Convenor of Prabajan Virodhi Manch Upamanyu Hazarika while condemning the present BJP-led government in the state for promoting country-made liquor has demanded resignation of Assam Excise Minister Parimal Suklabaidya for failing to control manufacture of illicit liquor.
Following death of more than 140 people in the state after consuming spurious liquor, Manch covenor Hazarikia wants minister Suklabaidya to own moral responsibility for the death of tea garden workers in the worst hooch tragedy in Jorhat and Golaghat districts.
“When a skilled tea garden worker gets a mere wage of Rs 167 per day, far below the minimum wage rate, his only option as a means to relax is to drink illegally manufactured cheap country liquor/hootch. No endeavour or steps have been taken by the state government to provide any kind of positive relaxation to tea garden workers and thus they resort to cheap avenues such as illegal country made liquor,” Hazarika said.
In a press communique, Hazarika further said that it was last year that the government had relaxed the norms for manufacturing and sale of country manufactured liquor and thereby legalised hazardous health abusive substances in the society, only to increase the revenue of the state exchequer.
The state government, on the other hand, had not formulated any policy or strict regulation to control such hazardous substances even while relaxing the norms for manufacturing of country made liquor which has led to such a humungous tragedy claiming more than hundred lives and maiming survivors for life, Hazarika further said .
Hazarika, who is also an advocate, said that when the sole priority of this government for the last 32 months has been only to bring Hindu Bangladeshis as a panacea for all the problems, such a tragedy was waiting to happen.
“The only response of the government is to suspend a few excise officials, when all officers and personnel are hand in glove with the illegal country liquor manufacturing lobby, they should have all been criminally prosecuted along with the kingpins,” he said.
Stating that there has been an attempt to make the incident a “political conspiracy” Hazarika said, “…in fact the concerned minister in-charge of excise department should step down and resign owing moral responsibility for such a tragedy that took so many precious lives.”