Hooch kills 102 tea plantation workers in Assam; 350 in hospital

Feb 23, 2019
Guwahati: So soon after similar tradgedies in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand, hooch has claimed in Assam a heavy toll of 102 lives and 350 in hospitals in a bad condition. These were mostly poor tree plantation workers. In Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand, illicit liquor had killed over 100 people 15 days ago.

The Assam Government has announced Rs 2 lakh each to the families of the deceased and Rs 50,000 for those undergoing treatment in various hospitals.

The tragedy took place at the Halmira tea estate in Assam’s Golaghat district, 300 km from Guwahati. The tea plantation workers consumed a locally brewed liquor called ‘sulai’, which is made of jaggery and ethyl alcohol, it is reported.

Deaths started taking place around 7 pm on Thursday.

The deaths occurred in Salmara in Golaghat and Borghola and Titabor in Jorhat. Over 220 people have been admitted at the Jorhat Medical College and Hospital and 100 have been admitted to the Golaghat civil hospital.

Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal set up an inquiry commission. Two excise officials have been suspended, officials said.

How deaths occurred in Jorhat also is yet to be found out. While one report said the liquor was made at a hut in Halmira Tea Estate, other reports said it was brought in from a village outside the estate. It is suspected methyl alcohol, which is poisonous, might have been added to raise the effectiveness of the liquor.

Assam Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said, "In Jorhat Medical College Hospital 36 of those admitted in connection with the spurious liquor tragedy are women. More patients were admitted when I was here."

He said doctors from Assam Medical College Hospital of Dibrugarh district, Gauhati Medical College Hospital and Tezpur Medical College Hospital in Sonitpur district were rushed to the Jorhat and Golaghat hospitals to provide medical aid to the affected people.

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