CM asks HM to expedite prez assent to excise bill

Bhubaneswar: Unable to take strong action against the bootleggers in the state, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today appealed to the Union Home Minister P Chidambaram to expedite Presidential assent to the Odisha Excise Bill, 2005.

Patnaik spoke to Chidambaram over phone this evening and urged him to expedite the bill which was sent to the union home ministry in January, 2009. "Several reminders had been sent to the home ministry in this regard," a release issued by the chief minister`s Office said.

The chief minister`s telephonic call to Chidambaram came in the wake of the recent hooch tragedy where 34 persons from Khurda and Cuttack districts died.

The proposed legislation seeks to replace the Bihar and Odisha Excise Bill-1915. "It contains provisions for establishment of excise stations, trial of excise offenders in special courts and forfeiture of property belonging to bootleggers, official sources said.

Meanwhile, the state government today shifted the State Drugs Controller A P Dash a day after trasnfer of the excise commissioner.

Dash had been posted as Officer on Special Duty (OSD) at the health department. He was shifted after sizure of a large number of spurious cough syrup bottles of diffrent bransds containing methnol during joint raids of the police, excise and health department.

The state government had earlier placed the assistant Drugs Controller Jyotirmayee Behera under suspension after the state forensic laboratory confirmed that a particular brand of cough syryp contained methyl alcohol.

Besides, two excise sleuths were suspended following the hooch tragedy in the state.