With the number of deceased reaching 143, the death toll in hooch tragedy which started on Thursday night at Halmira tea estate doesn’t seem to stall at Golaghat of Assam.
The Swahid Kushal Konwar Civil Hospital (SKKCH) in Golaghat is still flooding with patients affected by the toxic liquor.
“Initially most of the patients were from the tea garden areas but now we are getting patients from the urban areas also. Three teams of doctors from Guwahati, Jorhat and Tezpur have already been pressed into service. From the prima facie symptoms it can be said that all of them are suffering from poisoning caused by methyl alcohol,” said Uttam Dutta, superintendent of SKKCH.
Meanwhile, the excise minister Parimal Suklabaidya on Sunday arrived at SKKCH amidst protest from the family members of the victims. The protestors were shouting slogan against the failure of the excise department and criticized the minister for his failure to prevent such a tragedy.
A scuffle also took place between the security personnel and the protesters. After the situation was brought under control, the minister met with the victims undergoing treatment and assured them of all possible help.
Later the minister held a high level review meeting at the circuit house with the officers of excise department of both Golaghat and Jorhat districts in presence of additional chief secretary Jishnu Baruah and deputy commissioner of Golaghat Dhiren Hazarika.
In a stern action the minister has ordered suspension of all the excise officials of the two districts who had destroyed illicit liquor in the last three days.
The action has been taken to fix accountability. Why they have waited for such a tragedy to happen to destroy the illict liquor which they should have done earlier, said Suklabaidya.
On the other hand the police today arrested another 25 persons in connection with the hooch tragedy. With today’s arrest the number of people booked by police have reached 32.