GUWAHATI, March 27 - Taking a cue from Australian cricket legend Shane Warne, the Excise department has engaged 11 liquor companies in the State to manufacture alcohol-based hand sanitisers.
Warne and the founders of his liquor company Seven Zero Eight (the leg-spinner took 708 wickets in Test cricket) have decided to stop manufacturing gin and instead turn to making hand sanitisers in the wake of the novel coronavirus pandemic.
In Assam, at the initiative of the Excise department, 11 firms have started manufacturing hand sanitisers, adhering to WHO guidelines and those under the Essential Commodities Act and Drugs & Cosmetics Act, 1940. To ensure safety, the products will be tested adequately for their quality.
�There has been acute shortage of sanitisers in the market, while there are also allegations of malpractices by traders. The decision was taken after extensive discussions between Excise Minister Parimal Suklabaidya and Health department officials. The liquor firms were motivated and they agreed to it,� an official source said.
During the lockdown, the liquor companies will not manufacture liquor.
The Excise Minister�s PRO Sailendra Pandey said that more than 5 lakh litres of the alcohol-based sanitisers will be supplied free of cost as part of CSR activities by the liquor companies of Assam at the request of the Excise department.
�As per the demand placed by the Health department, around 5 crore bottles of 200 ml are required right now, which will be supplied by the Excise factories of Assam on no-profit basis. The Excise department has taken steps to make sanitisers available in Manipur and Nagaland as well. Till now, 11 companies have started producing sanitisers in Assam since yesterday,� Excise Commissioner Rakesh Kumar told The Assam tribune.
Besides bulk supply like containers of 20 litres, the sanitisers will also come in bottles of 180 ml, 375 ml and 750 ml � the standard bottles used for liquor till bottles of 200 ml etc are procured. A bottle of 200 ml is estimated to cost around Rs 50.
The manufactured sanitisers will be supplied to the Health department, which will decide on their distribution.