In a bid to break the ugly nexus between manufacturers and transporters of the kind that led to the recent hooch tragedy, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has ordered stringent measures, including mandatory GPS linkage, to check in-transport pilferage of ethanol, spirits and other products by unscrupulous elements for use in the manufacture of illicit liquor.
From September 5, no vehicles will be allowed to transport such products without tamper-proof sealing and GPS enabling, as per the directives issued on Wednesday by Excise Commissioner Rajat Agarwal on the Chief Minister’s orders.
The GPS coordinates of the vehicle will need to be preserved by the unit for a period of not less than 15 days from the date of completion of delivery of a consignment, according to the directives, aimed at providing checks on transportation of Extra Neutral Alcohol (ENA), Ethanol, Specially Denatured Spirit (SDS), Denatured Spirit (DNS) and Rectified Spirit (RS) by the distilleries.
The tamper-proof sealing of the tankers will be done by the distillery units before dispatch and the seal will be broken only by the recipient, under the new rules. Both dispatch and receiving units will have to maintain records and certifications to this effect for each tanker/truck, said Agarwal.
In no case shall the transport vehicle be allowed to stop enroute its destination within the state of Punjab, except in case of breakdown, when the manufacturing unit shall be duty bound to inform the Excise Officer Incharge of the unit within a period of not more than 15 minutes of such breakdown. The seals on the outlet of the transport vehicle must be kept intact and not broken in any way in such instances, said the Excise Commissioner.
If the breakdown necessitates transfer of the material/products to another vehicle, the
same shall be done in the presence of, or in accordance with the instructions of an Excise Officer of the jurisdiction in which the breakdown has occurred.
In case the vehicle stops enroute within the jurisdiction of the State of Punjab for reasons other than breakdown, it would be assumed that the vehicle has been stopped for pilferage and should such a scenario arise, the distillery and the transporter shall be jointly and severely liable for civil and/or criminal action as per the law.
Further, it will be the responsibility of the receiving unit to ensure that the entire contents of the material purchased and carried in the transport vehicle have been unloaded and there is no residue material in the transport vehicle.