Assam hooch tragedy: Death count mounts to 69, over 200 fall ill (Representational Image)
The death counts due to consumption of spurious liquor in Assam's Golaghat and Jorhat districts have gone up to 102 on Saturday, according to reports. Besides, over 300 have so far taken ill after consuming poisonous country liquor, known locally as hooch, in two districts of the north-eastern state. An investigation has been started by the Excise department in connection to the matter, DSP Golaghat said.
Early in the day, Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sharma visited the Jorhat Medical College Hospital (JMCH) to take a stalk of the situation and said the death toll is rising every minute.
"Every 10 minutes we are getting reports of casualties from different places. So far about 200 people are in hospital with many of them critical," Assam Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma told Reuters via telephone.
"I have been told here that 142 people have been admitted to Jorhat Medical College Hospital and 36 of them are women. Twelve people have died here. More patients have been admitted since I came here," the minister said. Director of Medical Education Anup Barman will supervise the patients' treatment, Sarma added.
Meanwhile, doctors from Assam Medical College Hospital in the neighbouring Dibrugarh district and Tezpur Medical College in Sonitpur district were rushed to Jorhat and Golaghat to assist in the treatment of the affected people.
The incident took place on Thursday evening when the workers at Salmara tea garden had consumed the liquor. The deaths come less than two weeks after more than 100 people died from drinking tainted alcohol in Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh.
(With inputs from agencies)