Golaghat: At least 26 people died, 50 seriously injured following consumption of country liquor during a social celebration at Salmara Tea Estate in eastern Assam’s Golaghat district on Friday. It is suspected that the country liquor believed to have been brought in a pesticide container.
According to the latest report at 9 pm, the death toll rises to 44.
Sources in the state health department have informed the EastMojo that the number of casualties may be increased with the passing of time.
Meanwhile, the government has constituted a four-member inquiry committee headed by additional commissioner of excise Sanjeeb Medhi to ascertain the cause and fallout of the incident. The members of the inquiry panel have already rushed to the spot to start investigation. The state government has also suspended two excise officers of the district till the filing of this report.
Following the directive from state chief minister, a team of Assam MLA and ministers will also be visiting the site to access the situation. MP Kamakhya Pradasd Tassa will also accompany the team. Congress party MLA from Mariani Rupam Kurmi has demanded the immediate resignation of Assam minister for excise Parimal Suklabaidya for the incident.
More than 50 people had gathered for some kind of celebration in the labour lines of Salmara Tea Estate in Golaghat district on Thursday night. Four women collapsed and died soon after consuming the country liquor.
Sources in Golaghat district administration said that 15 more died by Friday morning and their bodies were taken to the civil hospital in Golaghat town, about 280 km east of Guwahati, after an inquest.
“We are not sure if the country liquor was contaminated, but the container in which it was brought appeared to be that of a toxic chemical whose residue could have been mixed with the liquor,” sources added.
Apart from the civil hospital in the area, some of the seriously affected people have also been sent to Jorhat Medical College Hospital (about 40 km away). As a precautionary measure, the district administration has set up three medical camps in the tea estate.
Meanwhile, police has arrested Sanju Orang, owner of the liquor vendor, besides raiding nearby areas in a crackdown on illicit breweries.