Assam hooch tragedy death toll mounts to 59, 200 taken ill


File photo of a patient at a hospital in India. (Representational Image).

File photo of a patient at a hospital in India. (Representational Image).

At least 59 people have died and over 200 taken ill after consuming spurious liquor in tea gardens in Assam’s Golaghat and Jorhat since Thursday night, Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said on Saturday.

The death toll is rising every minute, the minister said after visiting Jorhat Medical College Hospital (JMCH) here.

More than 100 people-labourers at Salimira tea garden are believed to have consumed the spurious liquor, bought from one seller, on Thursday night, BJP MLA Mrinal Saikia said.

Police have arrested two people in connection with the event.

Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal has ordered an inquiry into the incident. Two excise officials of the district have been suspended.

“This morning the death toll in Golaghat and Jorhat districts was 59 and 200 people have been admitted to hospitals.
The death toll and the number of people admitted are changing minute by minute,” Sarma told reporters after meeting some patients at the hospital.

“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,” he said.

Director of Medical Education Anup Barman will supervise the patients’ treatment, Sarma said.

He said 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. PTI