Even as Laxmi’s online petition to curb retail sale of acids finds some support, the Chemical Industries Association is not sure if curbs can be put in place immediately.

Laxmi, a victim of acid attack eight years ago, has started an online petition through change.org, seeking to pressure the government into complying with the seven-day deadline “to frame a policy to curb sale of acid to prevent acid attacks”.

Laxmi was fifteen when two youths attacked her because she refused to marry one of them.

The Association has urged the State government to seek three months’ time from the Supreme Court to set up a committee comprising technical experts from the industry, safety and non-governmental organisations to discuss the issue and find solutions.

Association says regulating acid sale is not easy. According to its secretary N. S. Venkataraman, at least two lakh customers across the country, including school and college laboratories, use hundreds of chemicals for various purposes.

Of these, over 300 acids and 200 alkalis are used daily not just by the chemicals industry, school and college laboratories, but also by police.

While the process of issuing permit may work for large industries, consumers such as school labs that use small quantities will be denied access and this could lead to corrupt practices, Mr. Venkataramanan cautions.