Taking a stern view of the hooch tragedy and its offshoot which has resulted in losing many precious lives including women in the state’s Jorhat and Golaghat district, Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal has ordered a ban on molasses in the state.
Chairing a high-level meeting in the aftermath of the state’s gravest hooch tragedy, Sonowal asked State Chief Secretary Alak Kumar to ban molasses in the state.
The ban has been necessitated as molasses are widely used to prepare sulai an intoxicating drink.
He also asked Chief Secretary to direct all Deputy Commissioners to ensure ban on molasses in all the districts.
Chief Minister Sonowal also asked Chief Secretary to direct the Deputy Commissioners to generate awareness in all the tea gardens and their periphery areas by conducting awareness meetings so that people can be made aware of the evils of consuming sulai.
The meeting also decided to extend government help for looking after all children who lost their parent or parents in hooch tragedy under Juvenile Justice Act.
Minister of State (i/c) for Tea Tribes Welfare Pallab Lochan Das, Chief Minister’s Legal Advisor Santanu Bharali, Chief Secretary Alak Kumar, Additional Chief Secretary in charge of Labor Department Jishnu Baruah, Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister Sanjay Lohiya, and a host of senior officers from Revenue, Excise and Labor Departments were present on the occasion.
Assam Parliamentary Affairs minister Chandra Mohan Patowary informed the State Assembly that 155 people died consuming spurious liquor.
The deaths occurred in Golaghat and Jorhat districts of Assam and over 160 people were admitted in different hospitals in the two districts.
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has also taken cognizance of media reports and said, “Reportedly, there are more than 300 people admitted for treatment in the hospitals. As per news reports, police authorities have expressed apprehension that the methanol used in the hooch is the reason behind the deaths”.