Madhya Pradesh govt suspends licence of Som Distilleries, maker of Hunter beer & Pentagon whiskey, in child labour case

  • Som Distilleries is a listed company that manufactures and distributes beer, India-made Foreign Liquor and ready-to-drink beverages.

Livemint
Updated19 Jun 2024, 07:50 PM IST
As many as 39 boys and 19 girls were rescued from Som Distilleries' unit in Madhya Pradesh's Raisen district. (Representational image)
As many as 39 boys and 19 girls were rescued from Som Distilleries’ unit in Madhya Pradesh’s Raisen district. (Representational image)

The Madhya Pradesh government on Wednesday, June 19, suspended the licence of Som Distilleries after child labourers were rescued from its unit in Raisen district. As many as 39 boys and 19 girls were rescued by the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) from the company's distillery in Madhya Pradesh. 

The children were hardly paid any wages and transported daily by their employer in a school bus to work for 12-14 hours, The Hindu reported on Saturday. As many as 58 children were found with “severely burnt and wounded hands” from exposure to harsh chemicals and alcohol, the report said.

The NCPCR and the Association of Voluntary Action, also known as Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA), led the crackdown at Som Distillery on Saturday. 

Following the raid and rescue, shares of Som Distilleries plunged. However, the company attempted to shift the blame onto one of its vendors.

In an exchange filing on Monday, the Bhopal-based distiller clarified that the factory belongs to an unlisted associate firm, not the listed company. The distiller produces Hunter beer, Pentagon whiskey, and other alcoholic beverages.

Shares of SOM Distilleries & Breweries Ltd fell as much as 16 per cent in Mumbai on Tuesday — the most in nine months. The stock pared some of its losses later in the day. Som Distilleries & Breweries is an ISO-certified group of companies manufacturing and supplying beer, IMFL (India-made Foreign Liquor) and RTD (Ready To Drink) beverages.

NCPCR seeks medical examination of rescued children

Days after the rescue of 59 children from Madhya Pradesh's Som Distilleries, the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights has sought detailed medical examinations for all of them and fresh FIRs under relevant laws for those missing.

The NCPCR investigation uncovered hazardous working conditions, with many children showing burns on their hands from chemical exposure, highlighting unsafe and exploitative practices at the facility. The commission voiced concerns about the detrimental physical and psychological effects of these conditions on the children. 

(With agency inputs)

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First Published:19 Jun 2024, 07:50 PM IST
HomeCompaniesMadhya Pradesh govt suspends licence of Som Distilleries, maker of Hunter beer & Pentagon whiskey, in child labour case

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