At least 114 people have died after allegedly drinking spurious liquor in upper Assam districts of Golaghat and Jorhat, district officials confirmed. Police suspect that poisonous methyl alcohol — which is commonly available — was mixed in the liquor.
According to a report by news agency PTI, over 300 others are ill and have been admitted to hospital. The state government has ordered two separate inquiries into the incident.
Of the deceased, 45 had been admitted to Jorhat Medical College and Hospital, 35 at Golaghat Civil Hospital and four in Titabor area.
In a press statement, Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal said he has ordered a one-man inquiry by Upper Assam Division Commissioner Julie Sonowal. This committee will submit its report within 30 days.
“The modus operandi of the inquiry will study the circumstances and other related causative factors and prepare a report and submit the same to the government,” the statement from the CMO said.
Two officials from the excise ministry have been suspended, while another four-member inquiry team was formed to probe the case. Headed by Additional Commissioner of the Excise Department, Sanjib Medhi, the team has to submit its report within three days.
“The death toll and the number of people admitted is changing minute by minute,” Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma was quoted as saying by PTI.
Sarma added that Director of Medical Education Anup Barman will supervise the patients’ treatment.
To enquire about the health conditions of those who fell ill after consuming hooch in Golaghat, I went to Jorhat Medical College & Hospital (JMCH) this morning.
I also met the family members and relatives and ensured them that the perpetrators will not be spared. pic.twitter.com/lCSes3jaVr
— Himanta Biswa Sarma (@himantabiswa) February 23, 2019
For patients’ assistance in their treatment, doctors from Assam Medical College Hospital in the neighbouring Dibrugarh district and Tezpur Medical College in Sonitpur district were rushed to Jorhat and Golaghat.
(With inputs from PTI)