November 6, 2013

Soon, photo I-cards must for buying acid in West Bengal

By Sabyasachi Bandopdhyay : kolkata, Indian Express, Wed Nov 06 2013, 10:42 hrs

Buyers of any kind of acid for any purpose will now have to produce photo identity cards at shops, as the government is going to introduce stringent rules to control sale and possession of acid.

The rules include providing compensation of Rs 3 lakh to an acid attack victim, free medical treatment for them and reservation of beds for them at government hospitals, to name a few.

The state is amending Poison Act of 1919 to frame these rules. The draft rules, prepared by the Home Department, are now with the law department for vetting.

The government has taken this initiative following a directive from the Union Home Ministry to all state governments in September. The MHA did this in the wake of a Supreme Court directive to the central government to control sale and possession of acid.

Though no official figures are available, according to statistics provided by various NGOs and academic institutions, more than 150 attacks took place in India in the last 10-12 years. In West Bengal, in the last 10 years, 50 such attacks took place.

"We have framed new rules to control sale of acid. Photo-identity cards will be a must while purchasing acid,'' a Home Department official told The Indian Express.

In Kolkata, acid is sold at hardware shops and hardly any enquiry is done ahead of their purchase.

While a 750-ml bottle of nitric acid is sold for Rs 60, a bottle of similar quantity of sulphuric acid costs Rs 50. And a-500 ml bottle of Hydrochloric acid costs Rs 22. First two kinds are mostly used by mischief mongers.

"We usually do not sell acid to absolutely unknown persons but sometimes it is not possible to know the identity of the buyer. If the government introduces photo ID cards, it will be good for us,'' Arun Karmakar, a shopkeeper at Dum Dum told The Indian Express.

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