Letters

Anti-liquor movement

For the last few days, developments in Tamil Nadu, where some of our politicians have voluntarily assumed leadership of the people of Tamil Nadu to demand total prohibition, highlight the need for a liquor policy (Some editions, “More liquor shops come under attack”, Aug.4). The government runs liquor shops exactly like a commercial activity, and some licensed hotels and clubs serve liquor. That is all. I suggest that the State Chief Secretary must convene a meeting for a rational discussion on the subject. In the first meeting, eminent schoolteachers and university professors could be invited and discuss the various possibilities. In the second meeting, NGOs and medical practitioners should form the body of thought. A gist of the opinions expressed could be considered by the State government. Finally, those in politics can wait.

D.K. Oza,

Chennai

It is reported that the annual sale of TASMAC liquor in Tamil Nadu is in the range of Rs.25,000 crore, helping the government accrue several thousand crores of rupees by way of taxes and duties. As there is a deficit State budget and a huge expenditure to extend subsidised welfare schemes, there appears to be a reluctance to accede to the demand to close TASMAC shops. If these are closed, Tamil Nadu will have a large quantity of ethyl alcohol available which can then be used to produce value-added derivative products. Careful and dynamic promotion of molasses and alcohol-based projects can provide considerable income by way of taxes and duties apart from employment generation and the development of ancillary industries. The fact is that there are no worthwhile molasses or ethanol-based industrial projects in the State and most of the ethanol production is used to produce ‘Indian make foreign liquor’. In Tamil Nadu, around 3,30,000 hectares are under sugarcane cultivation, while that of sugarcane production is around 22 million tonne per annum. In addition, around 45 kilograms of cane molasses is produced from one tonne of sugarcane. The production of molasses can be in the region of 9.9 lakh tonnes per annum while that of ethanol can be around 2,40,000 litres per annum. There are several molasses and ethyl alcohol-based products which are not produced in Tamil Nadu/India but being imported in large quantities. Therefore, excellent investment opportunities to produce downstream products from cane molasses and ethyl alcohol exist in Tamil Nadu. Potential investment based on molasses/ethyl alcohol-based projects could well be over Rs.3,000 crore.

N.S. Venkataraman

Chennai

After reading the reports, I wish to draw attention to an interesting innovation currently in operation in Kenya. It is an example of upcycling, where sugarcane husk/bagasse, a waste, is converted into cooking charcoal in a specially designed kiln. The device, invented by a team of three Kenyan youth, can produce 1.5 tons of cooking charcoal briquettes in an hour, sufficient to meet the day’s needs of 600 households. These briquettes generate 90 per cent less smoke than the briquettes now in use. Most Kenyans who depend on smoke-generating firewood or dried dung for cooking needs have an alternative. These briquettes are also inexpensive. This technology is worthy of adoption in our country.

R. Namasivayam,

Nagpur

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Printable version | Jan 19, 2021 9:25:35 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/letters/antiliquor-movement/article7500478.ece

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