Assam Hooch Tragedy Toll Rises to 143

The death toll in Golaghat and Jorhat districts rose to 143 in three days as Assam faced its worst hooch tragedy ever, triggering demands for banning the illicit liquor trade. The state has more than 850 big tea estates and hundreds of thousands of small tea gardens that provide livelihood to four million people. Every year tea workers in different areas die after consuming spurious liquor.

On Sunday, an irate mob shouted slogans against the state excise minister saying “Parimal Suklabaidya go back” when he visited a hospital in Upper Assam. After the recent hooch tragedy in Uttar Pradesh, the excise department in Assam asked its officers in districts to dismantle illicit breweries. “We will have to do something drastic, for despite this tragedy, consumption of spurious liquor is still on. I saw this myself on Saturday,” said a senior Assam government minister, who did not wish to be identified.

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