New Delhi: Recently, many incidents of deaths due to consumption of spurious liquor have been reported from various states including Assam, West Bengal, Ahmedabad, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand, among others. While 110 people died after consuming illicit liquor in Assam, at least 108 persons lost their lives in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand. Here is a list of the hooch tragedies that have occurred in the recent past across the nation:
Assam Hooch Tragedy:
1) The death toll in the hooch tragedy in Assam stood at 110 on Saturday evening, while over 200 were admitted in the hospital. The incident occurred in Golaghat district when workers at the Salmora Tea Estate consumed spurious liquor on Thursday night.
2) Chief Minister Sonowal had ordered an investigation into the two separate incidents that took place in Golaghat and Jorhat districts. The investigations will be supervised by the Upper Assam Division Commissioner Julie Sonowal and the report on the probe will be submitted in a month’s time.
3) S Pandey, the PRO of Excise Department of Assam said, “83 deaths so far and more than 200 hospitalised. 15,000 litres of liquor has been destroyed across the state and 7 people have been arrested in the Golaghat & Jorhat case.” He added, “Excise minister Parimal Suklabaidya has asked a 4-member team to rush to the area & initiate an inquiry. Minister asked the probe committee to submit its report within 3 days.”
4) The state government has promised a compensation of Rs 2 lakh each to the families of the deceased and Rs 50,000 each to the ones who are hospitalised.
5) In the wake of the deaths, BJP activists in Golaghat had allegedly attacked Prabin Das, the head of the committee which demanded the prohibition of the liquor. Das had allegedly blamed the state excise department for failing to keep a check on the production of the illicit liquor.
6) On September 21, 2018, police reported that a woman was attacked and stripped by villagers in Assam’s Karimganj district for selling illicit liquor.
West Bengal Hooch Tragedy:
1) Last year, in the month of November, the toll in the hooch tragedy in West Bengal’s Nadia district rose to 12.
2) West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said the spurious liquor was being supplied from neighbouring states and asked the police to take strict action in this regard. She also asked the excise department to be proactive and conduct regular raids throughout the year and not just after an incident is reported.
3) Eleven excise department officials were suspended as a result of the liquor tragedy at Shantipur area of Nadia.
4) On December 15, 2011, at least 57 people died after consuming illicit liquor in West Bengal, police said. More than 100 others were hospitalised in Kolkata and Diamond Harbour.
5) The 2011 incident occurred 70 km from Kolkata in Sangrampur village after which locals demolished the liquor den.
Ahmedabad Hooch Tragedy:
1) Four people were hospitalised in a critical condition after they had allegedly consumed spurious liquor at Sola village in Ahmedabad. The incident occurred on July 4, 2018.
2) The four persons who had allegedly consumed the illicit liquor were identified as Mahesh Makwana (30) Pravin Makwana (30), Ajay Keshav Gupta (32) and Dhiren Meity (42).
3) They were admitted in Sola Civil Hospital after they suffered from symptoms such as vomiting, stomach-ache, burning in the chest and gradual loss of vision, stated a report by Times of India.
4) As of July 8, 2009, the death toll in Ahmedabad after consumption of spurious liquor rose to 26 with 10 more cases reported from the Odhav area.
5) The state witnessed seven big hooch tragedies between 1977 and 1989, which had claimed the lives of 500 people.
Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand Hooch Tragedies:
1) This year, the death toll in the hooch tragedies in both Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand stood at 108, with dozens of people hospitalised, a report quoted officials as saying as on February 10. Meanwhile, as many as six people died after consuming spurious liquor in Kushinagar, where authorities have suspended excise inspector, two head constables and two constables of the department.
2) According to an Uttar Pradesh government statement released on February 9 in Lucknow, 36 died in Saharanpur district which adjoins Uttarakhand. The next day, 11 more people succumbed to the spurious liquor in a village in Haridwar district in Uttarakhand.
3) On February 8, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had ordered a 15-day joint drive by excise and police officials against those involved in the spurious liquor trade.
4) On November 10, 2011, the toll in the hooch tragedy at Azamgarh in Uttar Pradesh rose to 39. Police arrested two people for supplying the toxic stuff to local vendors. The spurious liquor was supplied to three villages – Chakia, Naranv and Adampur – of Azamgarh district on the night of November 8.
5) The state government has suspended 11 officials, including five policemen and six excise department officials, and charged them with dereliction of duty for not being able to check the supply of illicit liquor. Meanwhile, one more person died in neighbouring Mau district after consuming the spurious liquor. Three others in Mahmoodabad have taken ill, and are being treated at a government medical facility.
To stop the practice of manufacturing of spurious liquor, provisions of life imprisonment and death penalty will be incorporated in the existing law through an ordinance, which will have a provision of death penalty depending upon the intensity of the case (death by spurious liquor), stated a recent press release by Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath. Similarly, other states have also taken steps to prohibit the manufacturing of illicit liquor.
(With Agency inputs)