Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal talking to ANI in Golaghat, Assam, on Monday. Photo/ANI
Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal talking to ANI in Golaghat, Assam, on Monday. Photo/ANI

With hooch tragedy toll touching 127, Assam CM vows of action against guilty

ANI | Updated: Feb 25, 2019 18:25 IST

Golaghat (Assam) [India], Feb 25 (ANI): With toll touching 127 in one of the deadliest hooch tragedies having ever hit Assam, and nearly 200 affected people still under treatment, Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal on Monday vowed to act against the guilty.
“The guilty will not be spared at any cost,” he said, while assuring all help to the dependents of those who lost their lives after consuming illicit liquor. “These deaths were unfortunate. We have made elaborate arrangements to tackle the crisis,” he told ANI.
“We have started an inquiry into the case. Director General of Police (DGP) Kuladhar Saikia   and Upper Assam Commissioner Julie Sonowal are conducting parallel investigations into the matter. Those responsible for the tragedy will not be spared,” he said. They have been asked to submit the report within a month.
Excise Minister Parimal Suklavaidya on Sunday had visited the victims of hooch tragedy undergoing treatment at the Civil Hospital here and inquired about their health. Terming the tragedy as unfortunate, he said the BJP government has made stricter provisions to check the sale of illicit liquor in the state.
“Now there is a fine of Rs 5 lakh for selling spurious liquor and lifetime imprisonment after the amendments in the state Excise Act,” he said.
The incident had triggered protests and outrage among the locals. Several residents in Guwahati demanded that the government should completely ban the sale of liquor.
Chief Minister Sonowal, who had visited the affected people at Jorhat Medical College Hospital (JMCH) on Saturday, has already announced an ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh to the next of kin of each of the deceased and Rs 50,000 to those who have fallen ill for treatment.
Golaghat Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Parthopratim Saikia said: “Police have launched a massive crackdown to nab those responsible for the distribution for illicit liquor in the area.”
Meanwhile, Congress party has questioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s silence over the hooch tragedy.
“Prime Minister Modi keeps giving speeches from dawn to dusk but he neither mentioned about the tragedy nor scolded his own party’s government in the state for the tragedy,” said Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera in New Delhi, while talking to media persons recently.
Accusing the state government of not taking enough steps to check the sale of spurious liquor, Assam’s Congress unit has demanded the resignation of Excise Minister Suklavaidya. Former Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi has demanded a judicial inquiry into the tragedies.
Most of the victims of Assam hooch tragedy are poor labourers, working in the tea estates of Golaghat and Jorhat districts. A large number of them had fallen ill after consuming spurious liquor on Thursday night and 12 of them were declared dead when they were rushed to the hospital for treatment after falling ill.
In order to ensure that there is no shortage of doctors in attending to the patients, medical professionals have been rushed to Jorhat and Golaghat from Assam Medical College Hospital, Dibrugarh, Gauhati Medical College Hospital, and Tezpur Medical College Hospital, Sonitpur.
Assam hooch tragedy comes close on the heels of the death of nearly 70 people recently in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand after consuming spurious liquor. These deaths were reported from Saharanpur, and Kushinagar districts in Uttar Pradesh, and Haridwar in Uttarakhand. (ANI)

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