Death toll crosses 80 in Assam hooch tragedy

Death toll crosses 80 in Assam hooch tragedy

Agency News

Guwahati, Feb 23 : The death toll in Assam hooch tragedy has crossed 80, with the casualty figure likely to increase further.

Nearly 60 deaths have been reported from worst-hit Golaghat district, while over 20 casualties have been reported from bordering Jorhat district. Golaghat deputy commissioner Dhiren Hazarika said 58 deaths have been confirmed in Golaghat district, from where the first casualties were reported on Thursday night.

In Jorhat district, 23 deaths have been confirmed by deputy commissioner Roshni Korati. Nearly 100 people from both districts are currently hospitalised at Jorhat Medical College and Hospital.

State Health Minister Dr Himanta Biswa Sharma, who visited JMCH this morning, said additional doctors are being called in from Dibrugarh and Tezpur medical colleges and hospitals.

Besides free medicines for those admitted, arrangements for food of the attendants are also being made, he added. Meanwhile, six persons have been arrested in Jorhat and another four in Golaghat in this connection so far.

Two godowns housing materials used in illicit liquor manufacturing have been sealed in Golaghat district. Upper Assam Division Commissioner Julie Sonowal has already started an enquiry into the incidents, while a four member team of Excise department, led by an additional commissioner, has also launched a separate investigation.

Besides, a magisterial enquiry into the Jorhat deaths has also been ordered. Two Excise officials of Golaghat district have been placed under suspension. Minister Topon Kumar Gogoi, MP Kamakhya Prasad Tasa and MLA Mrinal Saikia had reached yesterday on instructions of the CM.

The first deaths in Halmira tea estate were reported on Thursday night with preliminary investigation indicating that the victims fell sick after consuming spurious illegal distilled liquor, called 'sulai' locally. UNI