Bootleg alcohol kills 99 and hospitalises 200 on Indian tea plantation

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At least 72 more people succumbed to alcohol poisoning in two districts of Assam on Saturday, taking the death toll to 114 in what has turned into one of the worst episodes of mass hooch deaths in recent years.

The toll from consumption of spurious liquor in Assam's Golaghat and Jorhat rose to at least 124 on Sunday, PTI reported.

Hazarika said people started falling sick after consuming a batch of illegally produced liquor late Thursday. "Many people are admitted here and undergoing treatment". "The rush of new patients has [only] slowed down today afternoon", he added.

The Assam Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said every ten minutes they are getting reports of casualties from different places. The protestors were shouting slogan against the failure of the excise department and criticized the minister for his failure to prevent such a tragedy.

The victims consumed unregulated moonshine, known locally as "country-made liquor" in the northeast state of Assam.

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"The government must ban the sale of spurious liquor soon".

A senior spokesperson of the Excise Department said that 90 cases have been registered against unauthorized sale and production of hooch and violation of excise law. We have sent the samples of the liquor.to a forensic laboratory. He also announced an ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh for the dead and Rs 50,000 to those undergoing treatment. "They have been booked on charges of criminal conspiracy, causing hurt by means of poison and causing death by negligence under the Indian Penal Code", Dhruba Borah, Golaghat additional superintendent of police, said.

"The apathy and incompetence of the Assam Government has resulted in the tragic deaths of over 140 people with scores of victims in hospital, poisoned by toxic alcohol", Gandhi tweeted on Sunday afternoon.

Chief Minister Sonowal has also assured the families of the victims of hooch tragedies that the guilty would be brought to book.

State Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal met the victims at the Jorhat Medical College Hospital (JMCH) and announced an ex-gratia payment of 200,000 Indian Rupees (about 2,815 USA dollars) to the next of kin of each of the deceased and 50,000 Indian rupees (about 703 US dollars) to those who fell ill.

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