Massive crackdown on illicit liquor mafia launched in India



A massive crackdown has been launched in India's northeastern state of Assam to check manufacturing of illicit liquor in the aftermath of the hooch tragedy that has killed more than 100 people.

According to the state officials, a large number of illicit liquor manufacturing units have been identified and raided over the past 24 hours and at least 15,000 liters of such liquor have been destroyed till now.

The hooch tragedy hit the state's Jorhat and Golaghat districts on Thursday night, after which people started complaining of physical ailments. By Friday morning as many as 20 people had died, and the death toll continued to swell over 100 by Saturday night, media reports said on Sunday. Around 350 people were undergoing treatment at various hospitals.

At least 12 persons have been detained in Golaghat district for interrogation, and two persons arrested so far in this connection.

Most of the dead and the victims are labourers of two tea estates in Golaghat and Jorhat districts.

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 U.S. dollars) to the next of kin of each of the deceased and 50,000 Indian Rupees (about 703 U.S. dollars)to those who fell ill.

This is said to be the second major hooch tragedy in the country within a fortnight. Earlier this month, at least 90 people had died in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand after drinking spurious liquor.

In December 2011, hooch tragedy killed 172 people in South 24-Parganas district of West Bengal.

Spurious alcohol deaths are often reported in India, where people often drink cheap country made bootleg liquor.