Guwahati, February 23: The death toll in Assam’s hooch tragedy increased to 110 on Saturday evening, even as more than 200 remained hospitalised in critical condition. Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal has announced a compensation of Rs 2 lakh each to the families of the deceased while the ones getting treated at the hospital will receive Rs 50,000 each.
“The next of kin of the victims will be given Rs 2 lakh ex-gratia by the Assam government and the other affected people will get Rs Rs 50,000,” Assam Excise Department PRO, S Pandey said. He further said that at least seven people have been arrested in the Golaghat and Jorhat in connection with the case. The Excise Department of Assam has, meanwhile, destroyed nearly 15,000 litres of liquor across the state.
The incident took place in Assam’s Golaghat district, where reportedly, spurious liquor was consumed by people in the Salmora Tea Estate on Thursday night. CM Sonowal, in a press statement, said he has ordered an investigation by Upper Assam Division Commissioner Julie Sonowal into two separate incidents in Golaghat and Jorhat districts. The report will submitted within a month’s time.
The forensic investigation team is engaged in investigating poisonous liquor in Jorhat. Meanwhile, Assam Pradesh Congress President and Rajya Sabha MP Ripun Borah attacked the Sonowal government and demanded the resignation of Excise Minister Parimal Shukla Bedi. Borah also insisted on having at least three officers as part of the inquiry committee.
According to the police, the liquor was procured late Thursday night from the home of a 65-year-old woman named Dhraupadi Oran and her 30-year-old son Sanju Oran at Salmara tea garden in Golaghat. Another report states, the illicit liquor was prepared on the border of Golaghat and Nagaland that is close to the inaccessible dense forest area – Khatkhati from where it was transported to the two main districts and simultaneously to the tea workers.
The mother and son have died. Meanwhile, as many as 20 people – nine women and 11 men – have died at Jorhat Medical College and Hospital.
Earlier in the day, police arrested the owners of the illegal country-made liquor factory in the Jugibaari area near the tea estate. The accused were identified as Indukalpa Bordoloi and Deba Bora. As per reports, a glass of this illicit liquor is sold for Rs 10-20. (Agencies)