Assam hooch tragedy: Toll 22

Assam hooch tragedy: Toll 22

Agency News

Guwahati, Feb 22 (UNI) As many as 22 people, mostly women, of Halmari tea estate and neighbouring villages in Golaghat district of eastern Assam have died since last night after allegedly consuming spurious country liquor.

The chief minister has ordered an enquiry into the incident, while two Excise department officials have been immediately suspended and a separate departmental probe ordered into the tragedy.

Official sources from Golaghat said 22 people have died in the purported hooch tragedy and more than 20 others are hospitalised at Golaghat, while over 10 have been referred to the Jorhat Medical College and Hospital at Jorhat. "We are still in the process of collecting data on the people taken ill or death and the casualty figures could increase,” the sources said.

Preliminary investigation indicated that the victims fell sick after consuming spurious country liquor, with local people revealing that the victims had reportedly consumed liquor while attending a marriage ceremony.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, while expressing concern over the incident, has ordered an inquiry into the tragedy and asked Upper Assam Division Commissioner Julie Sonowal to inquire into the corollaries of events leading to the death of the people.

He also asked Minister Tapon Kumar Gogoi, MP Kamakhya Prasad Tasa and MLA Mrinal Saikia to rush to the spot to assess and quell the situation. Two Excise department officials have also been suspended with immediate effect. Excise Minister Parimal Suklabaidya said two department officials of Golaghat district, have been placed under immediate suspension.

Further, a four-member team, led by additional Excise commissioner Sanjiv Medhi, has been formed to enquire into the incident and submit its report within three days, he added. He said,“Based on the findings of the report, more stringent measures will be taken to ensure no repetition of such incidents.” [UNI]