Assam hooch tragedy: Over 80 tea plantation workers dead after consuming spurious liquor in Golaghat, Jorhat districts

The toll in Assam hooch tragedy has risen to 80, state police said on Saturday, adding that the excise department has started an investigation into the incident. The deaths in Assam come just days after around 80 people died in a similar case in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand. Police officer Julie Sonowal says the victims were mostly tea plantation workers in Golaghat and Jorhat districts of the state.

The workers consumed the locally brewed liquor laced with methyl alcohol, a chemical that attacks the central nervous system, on Thursday and started falling sick. They were rushed to nearby hospitals in a critical condition. Since then, at least 50 had died until late on Friday, Sonowal said. At least seven women were among the dead at the plantation in the northeastern state of Assam, 310 kilometres from the state's capital, financial Guwahati.

In a similar incident in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand, on 8 February, at least 80 people died in a hooch tragedy. Reportedly, a combination of urea, battery liquid, caustic soda and sedatives mixed with the alcoholic brew made the liquor poisonous. Reports suggest that doctors had found methanol in the viscera report of the victims.

After the hooch tragedy unfolded in Saharanpur and Kushinagar in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand's Haridwar, the Yogi Adityanath-led government started a 15-day campaign on Friday to crack down on the sale of illicit liquor and its distribution in the state. Meanwhile, the Assam government too has launched an investigation into the incident.

Deaths from illegally produced alcohol, known locally as hooch or country liquor, are common in rural India, where many cannot afford branded spirits.

With inputs from agencies

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Updated Date: Feb 23, 2019 14:59:27 IST

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