Nearly 140 people dead due to toxic liquor in India
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  • 13:38 24 February 2019

Nearly 140 people dead due to toxic liquor in India

The death toll from a case of liquor poisoning in India's north-eastern state of Assam rose to 139 on Sunday, ONA reports citing The  India Times.

A further 300 people were hospitalized after drinking toxic liquor in one of the deadliest bootleg alcohol tragedies in the country in recent years.

The victims were mostly tea plantation workers in the Golaghat and Jorhat districts who drank the methanol-laced brew on Thursday evening. The death toll soared and reached 102 by Saturday night.

While 85 people were killed in Golaghat, 54 died in adjoining Jorhat, according to Dhiren Hazarika and Roshni Aparanji Korati, both senior officials from the respective districts.

Nearly 300 people were admitted to hospitals with complaints of breathlessness and stomach pain and some of them were in a serious condition, Korati said.

"Investigations reveal the deaths occurred due to methanol poisoning. The drink is essentially a molasses-based brew, but people producing spurious liquor add methanol and ingredients like urea to increase its potency," she added.

State authorities which ordered investigations into the two incidents had announced compensation of 200,000 rupees (2,815 dollars) to the relatives of those dead.

Fourteen suspects were arrested and thousands of litres of illicit liquor were destroyed in a police crackdown.

The illegal liquor trade thrives in India because it is much cheaper than commercially produced alcohol. Many deaths are reported from the consumption of moonshine in India.

In some of the worst cases of such poisoning, 200 people died in 1992 in Odisha state and 180 in West Bengal in 2011.

Less than two weeks ago, more than 100 people died in the northern states of Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand after drinking tainted liquor.

Faig Mahmudov

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