Tea Garden Workers Pass Away in Assam
More than 150 people are reported to be dead in the hooch tragedy in Assam after tea garden workers consumed illicit liquor on the evening of 21st February. According to the locals four women died immediately after consuming the adulterated liquor while the villagers reported more deaths in the upcoming hours. The deaths have been recorded in Golagat and the Jorhat districts of Assam.
Liquor Dealers Under Scrutiny
Over 25 people have been arrested, 100 cases registered and the excise department officials seized 15000 liters of illicit liquor. As the government is constantly working towards finding the culprits who deal in illicit liquor, Trade union of Tea Workers has decided to shut down all liquor shops. The Assam Chah Mazdoor Sangha, started closing all liquor shops from Monday, the telegraph reported. The State General Secretary of Assam Chah Mazdoor Sangha said, “An effigy of excise minister Parimal Suklabaidya will be burnt as he is morally responsible for several deaths in Golaghat and Jorhat districts.”
He further added to his statement, “We will make people shut down all liquor shops, including those selling handia, sulai, mod and foreign liquor. They are all killers, illegal or not.”
According to a local, “Over 90 percent people (mostly tea garden laborers) of the area regularly consumed illicit liquor (locally known as Cholai)”
Aftermath of the Tragedy
While concerns were being acknowledged towards the people who died due to the consumption of adulterated liquor, locals are constantly alleging that the liquor is being supplied from outside and some excise officials have a fair hand in the dealing. Assam Chief Minister, Sarbananda Sonowal has ordered an inquiry and following this, many politicians have expressed their condolences towards the deceased and some have even visited the place to sympathize with the locals.
The government is under constant pressure of acting against illegal liquor. The CM has announced an ex-gratia payment of Rs 2 lakh to the next of kin of the deceased and Rs 50, 000 to all those who fell ill.
The number of arrested people is increasing every day and adding to this PRO of the state excise department stated, “The state excise department has launched operations against illegal liquor across the state and destroyed over 15,000 litres of illicit liquor. We have conducted raids at different places against illicit liquor and destroyed several litres of illicit liquor. We will continue this operation.” Hence, we can say that there are a lot of people yet to be arrested and many faces yet to be confronted.
Sources: India Today, NDTV, Sentinel Assam
Image Credits: The Week, Times8, Assam Lawyers