Acid available in shops despite SC order

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  • Tuesday, October 15, 2013
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  • Source: TOI

    RANCHI: The Supreme Court order to restrict free sale of acid in the country seems to have no effect in the state. Even after two months of court ruling, acid is being sold everywhere in Ranchi and one can procure it from local shops without hassles.

    When A TOI correspondent approached a shopkeeper on Jail Road for a bottle of acid, he did not even ask the purpose before handing over a bottle of hydrochloric acid. "Keep it away from the reach of the children," he warned and charged Rs 25 for it. Near Land Mark hotel in Lalpur, a hardware shop also sold the corrosive liquid for Rs 25 on Monday afternoon. The situation was same at Karbala Chowk, when the correspondent visited a hardware shop to buy acid, a week ago.

    When this correspondent asked for sulphuric acid at a hardware shop at Albert Ekka Chowk the vendor said: "We do not keep sulphuric acid because not many people purchase it. Go to Bada Talab locality there you would find it." Not just hardware shops local grocery shops also sell it.

    TOI has a copy of the letter sent to Jharkhand government by the Union ministry of home affairs after the July 18, 2013 SC order which said acid sale will be made only when the buyer produces his photo ID and address proof. The buyers should also specify the reason/purpose for procuring acid. According to the directions of the SC the seller is also supposed to maintain a register and to record the customer's name and address.

    No such regulation has been put in place so far and the acid sale continues unabated. No seller has declared his stocks to the concerned sub divisional officer (SDO). The SDO can confiscate the undeclared stock and suitably impose a fine on such seller up to Rs 50,000. "I have not received any such declarations from any seller so far," said Ranchi SDO Amit Kumar.

    The educational institutions, research laboratories, hospitals, government departments, PSUs which are required to keep and store acid/corrosive shall maintain a register of acid. They should also file regular reports to the concerned SDO. "No one has done it so far. I will issue notices in the local newspapers for awareness soon. After that those not complying with the rules would be punished," said Kumar.

    In July, a 22-year-old woman acid victim succumbed to her injuries at a Hazaribag hospital. In August 2012, a 24-year-old woman was attacked with acid by two boys in Ranchi when she resisted their sexual advances. Sonali Mukherjee, Dhanbad girl who survived acid attack on her face in 2003 had made headlines across the country after she appeared in KBC last year and narrated her woeful experience. In 2012 suspected Maoists had warned of acid attacks on girls wearing jeans.

    Data is not readily available with the district administration about the number of shops selling acid in the district. "We have initiated the process. The sale would be regulated soon," said Ranchi DC Vinay Kumar Choubey.

    "Safety of women is not the priority of the government. It is unfortunate that despite a number of acid attacks on women the government is not doing anything to regulate its sale," said women rights activist Vasvi Kiro.


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