Dionysian despair

After wreaking havoc in Tarai from Saptari to Bardia, and costing the lives of hundreds, adulterated alcohol now threatens the Kathmandu Valley and surrounding areas. Police on Saturday busted a gang of three involved in producing and selling spurious alcohol from Bafal, Kathmandu. The Metropolitan Police Crime Division Kathmandu was on alert after tainted liquor was discovered in Dhading, Banepa, Dolakha, Kathmandu’s Pharping, and other Valley suburbs. According to the police, the trio used artificial colouring, low-quality liquor and other chemicals to manufacture cheap replacements of popular brands like Signature, Blue Riband, Royal Stag, Virgin and Khukuri rum.

It is nigh impossible for the uninitiated to distinguish genuine brands from their bootlegged versions. The bottles are properly branded and sealed, and the blue and red stickers of Inland Revenue Services duly attached. Not surprisingly, those involved in this shady business continue to mint money — at the cost of health of drinkers. Health experts caution that chemicals in second-rate hooch pose a range of health hazards, from upset stomach, nausea and vomiting to death. Only a coordinated effort of the police, IRS and brand owners will help mitigate the crisis. The consumers, for their part, need to be extra vigilant while buying popular brands.