22 tea workers die after drinking spurious liquor in Assam

Feb 24, 2019, 00:49
22 tea workers die after drinking spurious liquor in Assam

Assam Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, who visited the patients in the two hospitals Saturday, told reporters, "This morning the toll in (the hooch tragedy) in Golaghat and Jorhat districts was 59 and 200 were admitted in hospitals".

Informing that at least 11 others are struggling for life in various hospitals, officials familiar with the incident said that those affected are believed to have consumed methyl alcohol mixed liquor. Dozens are still being treated in local hospitals.

Earlier this month, about 100 people died in the northern states of Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand after drinking bootleg liquor.

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One worker who is undergoing treatment at Golaghat Hospital told the BBC that he had been at a tea plantation on Thursday.

The victims were mostly tea plantation workers in Golaghat and Jorhat districts of Assam state, which lie hundreds of kilometres from the state's financial capital, Guwahati, local police officer Julie Sonowal told the Associated Press news agency on Friday.

Of the estimated five billion litres of alcohol drunk every year in India, around 40 percent is illegally produced, according to the International Spirits and Wine Association of India.

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Since 2016, Assam's state government has been controlled by the Bharatiya Janata Party, the political group of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. "There can be multiple producers at different locations but we have to investigate what is common contaminant", Singh said.

Authorities said that two persons were detained in connection with the case while two excise department officials were suspended pending inquiry.

Many deaths are reported from the consumption of moonshine in India. That would not only hurt a key source of government revenue, but also expose governments to charges that they were promoting drinking. Four women collapsed and died soon after consuming the country liquor, according to The Hindu.

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A doctor attends a victim, who had consumed bootleg liquor, at a hospital in Jorhat in the north-eastern state of Assam, India.