Post Mortem

The perturbed impact of counterfeit alcohol in Nagaland

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 11/30/2020 12:40:48 PM IST

 Fake or illegally churn out alcohol that is produced in unlicensed distilleries or people’s abode or small cottage units and intended for sale is termed Fake alcohol. Counterfeit alcohol is a related issue where cheap or adulterated alcohol is sold with fake packaging by means of manipulation. Alcohol was perceived to exist for medicinal purposes during the sixteenth century however the transgress misuse of alcohol was witnessed in the eighteenth and nineteenth century which ultimately propelled some significant countries such as US to take proceedings to put an embargo on the manufacture, sale, import and export of the exceeding alcohol. Nevertheless by late 1930s such stoppage on the exceeding alcohol remains discontinued. Alcohol prohibition in India is also in force in states like Bihar, Gujarat, Mizoram, Nagaland as well as in the union territory of Lakshadweep.

The Nagaland liquor Total prohibition Act 1989 reads “to totally prohibit possession, sale, consumption and manufacture of liquor in and of import and export thereof in the state of Nagaland. Despite its tremendous lay hold of steps, the act looks more of redundant in the current scenario. In 2019 Nagaland reported zero convictions under the NLTP Act as well as the Nagaland Excise Act as per the Prison Statistics India 2019 report released by the National Crime Records Bureau. The report requires massive applauds from the denizen but the irony says a different theory though. In a state where according to the study published by the “Magnitude of substance use in India 2019 report released by the ministry of social justice and empowerment, 8.1 percent of the population of Nagaland or 3.62 lakh people currently consume or use alcohol. Not a single individual was fettered for breaking the protocol under the NLTP Act manifest in itself a pure mockery towards justice. Prohibition leaps and bounds counterfeit, adulterated alcohols, bootleggers and black market. The prohibition is the pivotal reason that impetus the syndicate group to indulge in hooch system thereby maneuvers the alcohol into adulteration. Prohibition infact has inherent not halted the people from drinking, people tends to urge for even low quality product which they know is disastrous to their health. Most often the clandestine cottage industry preparations are made in unhygienic environments, the additives to the deadly mix enhance the hazard. It also creates an environment of revenue loss to the public exchequer. In addition, it has serious implications for consumers. Producing fake alcohol is a catch sight of making money and it can be bought cheaply by the consumers. However, it possess a gigantic problem thereby deteriorating our health and at risk. There have been many instances of poisoning and deaths following the consumption of adulterated liquor. People of the lower socio- economic status are inflicted more as they usually have the habit of consuming illicit or home brewed alcohol which they get it at a fair reasonable price despite its known hazard. 

Intensified certified alcoholic drinks are made with ethanol – beverage that is safe to drink in moderation. But fake alcoholic drinks are manufactured using cheaper means of chemicals used in cleaning fluids, nail polish remover and automobile screen wash, as well as methanol and isopropanol which are used in antifreeze. Drinking beverages containing these chemicals can cause nausea and vomiting, abdominal pain, drowsiness and dizziness. It can also lead to kidney or liver problems and even coma. Methanol, a substance which can be used in fake vodka, may cause permanent blindness. Per capita alcohol consumption in India has more than doubled from 2005 to 2016, according to a report published by the WHO. The harmful use of alcohol is one of the leading risk factors for population health worldwide and has a direct impact on many health-related targets of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including those for maternal and child health, infectious diseases (HIV, viral hepatitis, tuberculosis), non-communicable diseases and mental health, injuries and poisonings. In 2016, the harmful use of alcohol resulted in some 3 million deaths (5.3 per cent of all deaths) worldwide and 132.6 million disability-adjusted life years (DALYs). Mortality resulting from alcohol consumption is higher than that caused by diseases such as tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS and diabetes. In 2019 at the launch of North Eat Artist Network (NEAN), an initiative under Nagaland Liquor Total Prohibition (NLTP) Act, 1989DHD (District hospital Dimapur) Sr. Psychiatrist Dr Kezo averred that alcohol-related ailments in the State could be viewed as “evergreen disease” due to the huge number of patients that DHD received all through the year, adding 50% of indoor patients suffered from ailments due to excess consumption of alcohol. He even stated that consumption of liquor by alcoholics peaked when they were between the ages of 18 and 60 years.

 In Nagaland, alcohol adulteration and its regular intake have literally wrecked one of the members of the family, eventually leading the entire family to suffer the damage formed by an individual. An alcoholic can be any one from the family members, however in most cases the father is the victim. An alcoholic father who disillusioned the hope of his wife, sons and daughters. The wife heart leads astray and in despair, the sons dream shattered and disconsolation accompanies resembling a shadow creature his entire voyage, the daughters adrift in the midst of the deteriorating bridge with no fatherly figure to secure her. This intense feeling creates a spider web like structure making it difficult for them to break out from the affix. The children then proceeds to partake in any unwanted substance abuse .The strong children survives but not everyone has the valor to fight the unending battle and thereby leads them wide of the mark into sub human disguise. In most of the cases the victim becomes encumbered to the family and all the expenses meant for the future savings retire in vain with money liquid consumed for the victims dilapidating health leading to death at long last. The regular alcoholic in takers should therefore possess the habit of minimizing their drinking habits or less leave it discharged in  order to eschew from this infamous and inherent encounter. 

Recently the DNSU (Dimapur Naga Students Union) with arms shield armor pressurized the Government of Nagaland to check the illegal flow of liquor, likewise CNTC(Central Nagaland Tribes)in supplement applauded DNSU initiative and call for the formation of the committee to look into the affairs of the counterfeit alcohol and implored scrutiny for the procurement of their trade licenses. Thence the Commissioner of Excise Dimapur formed a committee to be headed by the Deputy Commissioner (Narcotic Cell) S Chanlei Angh to eye into the issue of illegal liquor outlets in Dimapur. This ultimatum and the formation of the committee looks quite promising but the action orientated still remains a questionnaire. 

Article 47 of the Indian constitution speech about enhancing public health as among its primary duties and in particular endeavor to bring prohibition of intoxicating drinks and drugs which are injurious to health. This provision regards counterfeit alcohol beverages as void. The Government of Nagaland should infact action orient these provision in order to ensure healthy and better access of alcohol drinking and establish protocol to outwit the pragmatic fake alcohol or more people is likely to die of adulteration in the immediate future.

There is ten to one the essential of indispensable economically packaging solutions to steer a vital role in swaying the counterfeiting and liquor adulteration. The use of aseptic packaging becomes extremely requisite. Karnataka is the perfect paradigm to use aseptic packaging followed by UP, west Bengal, Andhra Pradesh and Union territories of Puducherry and Daman and Diu. The Government of Nagaland should also follow these proceedings as aseptic packaging ensures hygienic and tamper proof (anti counterfeit) and more lighter and less fragile. It also allows the dual edge for brand owners and consumers both to identify safe and reliable liquor brands at the point of sale. Indian government initiative of introducing HEAL(Holographic Excise Adhesive Labels) was another stepping stone to combat counterfeiting and adulteration in the liquor segment. This was first adopted by Tamil Nadu. Today more than 17 states excise department are utilizing HEAL. This has not only let fall the hooch catastrophe and replication but has supplementary elevated the revenue collection in states. The government of Nagaland should henceforth uphold this HEAL strategy to evade alcohol adulteration. Adulteration plus or minus, there has been suffice adversity incurred by the exceeding alcohol. People committing crimes under the influence of alcohol, car mishap, rape incidents, pilferages and many more. The only feasible method is to conscious drink wise and fight shy of all unnecessary calamities before alcohol circulates in men the unrestrained madness. The best doable modus operandi is to leave the individual to decide his choice and make him consciously sensitized about the harmful impact of alcohol and its stake. In drawing inferences counterfeit alcohol should be ceased by all means for the betterment and welfare of the people. “Alcohol makes everything better, until it makes everything worse. “- Caroline Knapp.

Tokato K Sumi, 

New Colony Zunheboto


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