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Assam: Crackdown on illicit liquor; hooch tragedy toll crosses 160

Huge amounts of spurious country-made liquor destroyed following community drives against illegal activities going on in the two affected districts of Golaghat and Jorhat

Golaghat/Jorhat: Following the hooch tragedy in the two upper Assam districts of Assam, which killed over 160 people, community crackdown on country-made spurious liquor stocks, including the vendors, have already started in both Golaghat and Jorhat.

People in large numbers, especially women and youth have come out openly and started destroying all the illicit liquor stocks available in each and every household of different tea estates and liquor lines.

“From Friday evening, we have launched this massive operation against the illicit liquor stocks. People in large numbers from different parts of the area have started this operation. No one has been spared. We have visited each and every household, liquor lines etc., in search of such liquor stocks. We have even checked kitchens, toilets, etc., in search of such stocks,” one of the members of the All Adivashi Students’ Union, which is spearheading the operation, said. A huge amount of spurious liquor stocks and lali gur (molasses) have already been destroyed.

Police personnel destroying illicit liquor stocks in different parts of both the districts.
Police personnel destroying illicit liquor stocks in different parts of both the districts.
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Fearpsychosis prevails among the tea garden workers in both Golaghat and Jorhat districts as death toll after consumption of spurious liquor in both the districts crosses 160. The number of patients getting treatment at various PHEs, government hospitals is also increasing gradually. Because of the increasing number of deaths in the PHEs and other hospitals, the condition here has reached such an extent that patients fear to visit PHEs. “Whoever has been admitted at the PHEs, no one has returned back. Everyone has died. So, I won’t go to the PHE even though I am not feeling well,” a tea garden worker told EastMojo.

Earlier, chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal expressed serious concern over the death of people due to alcohol poisoning in Golaghat district and ordered an inquiry into the tragedy. Sonowal also instituted a one man inquiry and asked upper Asam divisional commissioner Julie Sonowal to inquire into the corollaries of events, leading to the death.

Massive crackdown on illicit liquor stocks have already been started in different parts of tea garden areas of both Jorhat and Golaghat districts of Assam.
Massive crackdown on illicit liquor stocks have already been started in different parts of tea garden areas of both Jorhat and Golaghat districts of Assam.
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Talking to reporters, Assam health minister Himanta Biswa Sharma, after visiting the affected people, said that strict action will be taken against the guilty. “Right now, we are trying our level best to provide adequate medical facilities to those affected in the tragedy,” he said.

The state government has also announced compensation of Rs 2 lakh each to the next kin of victims and Rs 50,000 each to those getting treatment in hospitals.

Apart from the deaths in Salmara Tea Estate, reports of casualties are also pouring in from various parts of both Golaghat and Jorhat districts, including Meerapani, where the spurious liquor was reportedly prepared.

Over 200 patients are getting treatment at Jorhat Medical College and Hospital (JMCH). Sources informed EastMojo that some of the patients in JMCH are in critical condition. Apart from the JMCH, affected people have also been shifted to different PHEs of both the districts.