At least 150 die from tainted liquor in India's northeast

Lester Mason
February 26, 2019

People look at the bodies of tea plantation workers, who died after consuming bootleg liquor, outside a government-run hospital in Golaghat in the northeastern state of Assam, India, February 23, 2019.

Police raised the death toll from 133 on Monday.

Many of those that drank the liquor were tea plantation workers who had just received their weekly wages, according to another state government official.

The incidents happened Thursday night at Halmira Tea Estate in Assam, northeast India in Golaghat and neighboring Jorhat district, about 180 miles from the state capital of Guwahati. In the past 24 hours alone, 34 patients have died, said Manab Gohain, a doctor at the Jorhat Medical College Hospital.

While 85 people were killed in Golaghat, 58 died in adjoining Jorhat, according to Dhiren Hazarika and Roshni Aparanji Korati, both senior officials from the respective districts.

He also visited the victims of hooch tragedy undergoing treatment at the Civil Hospital here and inquired about their health.

An Excise Department official said that a total of 90 cases have been registered regarding the unauthorised sale and production of hooch and also for violating the excise law.

"The death toll and the number of people admitted is changing minute by minute", Sarma told reporters after meeting some patients at the hospital.

Assam Excise Minister Parimal Suklabaidya has been visiting the houses of the people who died in the tragic incident.

The victims were said to have consumed unregulated moonshine, known locally as "country-made liquor".

Mrinal Saikia, a local politician from the Bharatiya Janata Party - which is in control of the federal and Assam state governments, said alcohol, often laced with cattle feed and battery acid, was being supplied "in gallons" to tea plantation workers. My deepest condolences to the families of the victims.

This is said to be the second major hooch tragedy in the country within a fortnight.

Doctors from Assam Medical College Hospital of Dibrugarh district, Gauhati Medical College Hospital and Tezpur Medical College Hospital in Sonitpur district have been rushed to the Jorhat and Golaghat hospitals to provide medical care, Sarma said. Excise Minister assured that strict action will be taken against the culprits.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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