Prayagraj: The death of nine persons including four in Pratapgarh and five in trans Ganga (Prayagraj) due to the consumption of spurious liquor has set alarm bells ringing for the police and excise department ahead of Holi in the region.
Police have claimed to have intensified a major drive against the sale, purchase and production of illegal liquor. Cops have been keeping a strict vigil on 12 villages of trans Ganga and trans Yamuna areas which have been infamous for large-scale hooch production.
According to sources, joint teams of police and excise department are running pillar to post to prevent any such incident ahead of Holi.
Apart from tightening the noose around racketeers selling pouches of spurious liquor, a strict surveillance has also been maintained on the villages situated along river banks and are regarded as the hub of the production of illegal liquor in the district.
A senior cop preferring anonymity said, “Kachar belt has always been infamous for the manufacture of spurious liquor. Many families get engaged in hooch production whenever an important festival like Holi approaches.”
“Cops, with the help of villagers, are also carrying out awareness campaigns urging people not to consume illegal liquor,” he added.
Raids are also being conducted in several villages of trans Ganga and trans Yamuna areas, and cops have been seizing raw materials and destroying furnaces.
The raw materials used include methanol (also known as wood spirits, methyl hydrate, or hydroxymethene), and the deadly concoction could lead to blindness, severe burning in stomach and also cause death. Besides methyl alcohol, other similarly injurious materials are mixed in the combination to enhance the kick of hooch. Moreover, manufactures also add zinc,carbon and rectified spirits to prepare spurious liquor.
To add to the danger, many such manufacturers have a wide network, and they are able to escape to other districts and states in case of any untoward incident.
Spurious liquor is made using jaggery, alum, ammonium chloride and choice of essence. Instead of traditional ethyl alcohol, methanol is used to add punch to the country-made brew which often proves fatal for consumers.
Methanol affects human body including lungs and heart, eyes, liver and kidney. It also causes paralysis of muscles due to acidosis.