Pandemonium in Odisha Assembly over hooch tragedy

Odisha Assembly on Friday witnessed pandemonium over the recent hooch tragedy which claimed at least 40 lives.

Bhubaneswar: Odisha Assembly on Friday witnessed
pandemonium over the recent hooch tragedy which claimed at
least 40 lives, with opposition Congress demanding resignation
of the state health minister on moral ground.

The issue was raised during the question hour when Health
Minister Prasanna Acharya was replying a question on the raids
conducted by the department on Chemist stores dealing with
alcohol mixed medicines.

As certain medicines tested positive to the presence of
deadly methanol, it was duty of the Health minister to own
responsibility, alleged Leader of Opposition Bhupinder Singh
of Congress demanding resignation of Acharya.

Singh`s party colleague Santosh Singh Saluja also
demanded the Health minister`s resignation saying it was
proved that the deceased persons had also consumed the liquor
having medicine content. "The health minister should tender
resignation owing moral responsibility," Saluja reiterated his
demand during the zero hour also.

Earlier, the then Excise minister AU Singhdeo had
resigned from the ministry on the moral ground.

Health minister Prasanna Acharya, however, blamed the
Centre for not amending the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940
which allowed the pharmaceutical companies to manufacture
medicines having alcohol content.

"The state government tries to ban sale of such alcohol
content medicines, it can not stop their circulation due to
lack of provision under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act," the
minister pointed out.

Though the government in the past had banned manufacture
and sale of such alcohol content medicines, the pharmaceutical
companies stalled it by securing orders from the judicial
courts. "The state government had twice banned manufacture of
such alcohol containing medicines in 1989 and 2002. But the
pharmaceutical companies could successfully nullify it,"
Acharya said.

NCP legislature party leader Amar Prasad Satpathy
alleged that the Controller of Drugs utterly failed to
prevent circulation of spurious medicines in the state.

"The government cannot hang the persons found out of
track. There should be legal backing to the government`s
efforts to stop circulation of such medicines," the minister


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