Chemical units, distilleries shut in Dera Bassi - ECAS Punjab

Chemical units, distilleries shut in Dera Bassi

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Gaurav Kanthwal

Tribune News Service

Dera Bassi, August 11

With the Excise and Taxation Department acting tough after the Majha spurious liquor tragedy, most of the smalltime chemical units, distilleries and breweries in Dera Bassi belt went into a self-imposed lockdown mode. Unit owners who used to buy pharma waste and distill it to make products for the paint and thinner industry have either fled the scene or have shutdown their units, fearing more such raids and seizures.

“The officials are playing this ethanol and methanol game to save their skin. The chemicals they have seized from the three units is almost available with every unit in one form or the other. In this way, they can virtually arrest anyone and put them in jail,” said an owner of a chemical unit in the Focal Point area. The Patiala and Dera Bassi belt is the hub of distilleries in the state with close to five big distilleries and 12 breweries, bottling plants located here. Among them are international names and big players in the country. Besides this, there are scores of chemical and allied units which provide raw material to the paint and thinner industry. The units provide employment to a large number of local population in manual and semi-skilled categories.

“Instead of nabbing the real culprits, the officials are making survival difficult for us and the labour class,” said another trader.

4 accused in judicial custody

The four accused in the 27,600 litres of chemical seizure from Dera Bassi units have been remanded to14-day judicial custody after their two-day police remand ended here today.

The joint teams of excise department and police have been investigating the channels through which the chemical was being produced and supplied to the bootleggers. The Excise and Taxation Department had, on Sunday, raided three chemical units and seized 27, 600 litres of illicit chemical containing alcohol.

The department claimed it to be the biggest haul ever. Those named in the FIR are KP Singh and AK Chaudhary, Allychem Chemicals directors, Gaurav Chaudhary, the proprietor of Om Solvi Trading Co, and Jagmohan Arora, the proprietor of Pure Chemicals.

from The Tribune

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