Guwahati: The death toll in Assam hooch tragedy rose to 135 on Sunday even as over 300 others remain hospitalised due to the consumption of illicit liquor, Zee News reported. If Assam Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma is to be believed, the ‘death toll and the number of people admitted are increasing every minute’.
The incident took place on February 21 when the workers at Salmara tea garden consumed the spurious liquor. Nearly 12 people have been arrested by the police as of now, including the owners of the illegal country-made liquor factory- Indukalpa Bordoloi and Deba Bora, in Jugibaari area. As per reports, a glass of this illicit liquor is sold for Rs 10-20.
Meanwhile, Assam Excise Minister Parimal Suklabaidya, while speaking on deaths due to consumption of spurious liquor in Golaghat and Jorhat districts, claimed that a total of 123 people have died till now. Around 125 people are undergoing treatment at the hospitals, he was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
Expressing grief over the deaths, Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal on Saturday announced a compensation of Rs 2 lakh each to the families of the deceased and Rs 50,000 to the ones getting treated at the hospital. Meanwhile, the opposition Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) president continues to demand an adequate compensation for the families of the victims.
Taking cognizance of the matter, the government ordered a probe into the incident. Furthermore, two excise officials belonging to Salmara area were suspended for negligence. “We will investigate the incident. The guilty won’t be spared,” Golaghat Deputy Commissioner Dhiren Hazarika said, even as the forensic investigation team is engaged in investigating poisonous liquor in Jorhat.
Meanwhile attacking the state government, Assam Pradesh Congress President and Rajya Sabha MP Ripun Borah attacked the Sonowal government and demanded the resignation of Excise Minister Parimal Shukla Bedi. He also insisted on having at least three officers as part of the inquiry committee.
The deaths come less than two weeks after more than 100 people died after consuming spurious alcohol in Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh.