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Death toll in India's liquor tragedy rises to 156

Published : 24 Feb 2019, 19:08

  DF-Xinhua Report

Victims of illicit liquor receive treatment at a hospital in Golaghat district in Assam, India, Feb. 24, 2019.

The death toll due to consumption of illicit liquor in India's northeastern state of Assam Sunday rose to 156, local government officials said.

Over 200 victims, mostly the tea garden workers, are undergoing treatment in different hospitals.  

The hooch was consumed by people on Thursday evening at Halmira tea estate in Golaghat and adjacent Jorhat districts, east of Dispur, the capital city of Assam.

According to officials, so far 85 deaths have taken place in Golaghat, while as 71 have died in adjacent Jorhat district.

"In Golaghat the death toll has risen to 85," Deputy Commissioner Golaghat Dhiren Hazarika told Xinhua over telephone.

The public relations officer at Jorhat Medical College hospital, Dr Manab Narayan Baruah, told Xinhua the death toll in Jorhat due to consumption of hooch has risen to 71.

"Up to 1:00 p.m. today the death toll has gone up to 71 in Jorhat alone," Baruah said. "Many people are admitted here and undergoing treatment."

The death toll is likely to increase further, officials said.

Health officials said the cause of death, according to preliminary investigation, seems to be drinking "spurious country made liquor."

Besides making some arrests, police have registered a case and collected samples of the liquor.

Earlier this month, around 100 people died in a similar hooch tragedy in India's northern states of Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh. Following the deaths, authorities suspended several officials and have started a crackdown on illicit liquor manufacturing units and sales points.

In December 2011, a hooch tragedy killed 172 people in South 24-Parganas district of India's eastern state of West Bengal.

Spurious alcohol deaths are often reported in India where people often drink cheap bootleg liquor.