Recently, 168 people died in Golaghat and Jorhat
districts of Assam after consuming illicit alcohol. Illicit alcohol is produced
under unregulated circumstances and is often adulterated with chemicals like
methanol, organo-phosphorus compounds and ethanol to save costs.
The deaths in Assam had been due to alcohol
poising from “Sulai”. Sulai is a form of liquor locally brewed in Assam. It is generally
brewed from fermented molasses. Molasses is a by-product of sugar refining.
In 2017, the Assam government had banned the Mahal
system. Under this system, only few people controlled large part of the legal,
quality-controlled sulai market.
The government had introduced a new country spirit policy which allowed
licensed manufacturers, spread across Assam, to produce hygienically packed sulai. Under the policy, IMFL (Indian Made
Foreign Liquor) producers are allowed to sell the local liquor for an annual
license fee of Rs. 20,000.
government also amended excise rules. The amendments seek to put in place a
scientific system of bottling and trading of the country spirit in Assam.
the recent hooch tragedy, the Assam government has banned molasses from which
sulai is brewed.
is not listed in Section 3(1) (j) of the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006,
which includes consumable food items. Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006
consolidates relating to it. The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India
(FSSAI) was established under the Act. FFSAI is the apex body dealing with food
safety and regulation in India