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Bengal hooch tragedy toll 121, victims mostly poor

Thursday December 15, 2011 05:25:37 PM, IANS

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Moonshine kills 63 in Bengal village

At least 63 people, mostly rickshaw pullers and labourers, died and 80 others were hospitalised Wednesday after consuming spurious liquor in a West Bengal village. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said the government was contemplating demolition of illegal liquor dens.  

Diamond Harbour (West Bengal): One of the worst ever hooch tragedies in India continued to unfold Thursday, leaving 121 people dead and over 100 in hospitals, as more victims - mostly rickshawpullers, labourers and hawkers - reported sick after consuming hooch in a village.

The victims, who had Tuesday night visited some illegal liquor dens near Sangrampur railway station in the village by the same name in South 24 Parganas district, were mostly from the poorest sections of society.

"So far 121 people have died," district police superintendent L.N. Meena told IANS over phone.

Sangrampur falls under the Diamond Harbour subdivisional headquarter.

Seven people have been arrested for supplying moonshine in the area. Most victims belonged to Usthi, Mandirbazar and Magrahat areas.

Official sources said more people have been admitted to hospitals since Wednesday evening. Patients were coming in even Thursday morning and the toll was likely to rise, they said.

The victims were mostly in a Diamond Harbour hospital, some were admitted in neighbouring areas while yet some were even brought to Kolkata for treatment.

The chemical mixed in the liquor has not yet been identified, said district magistrate N.S. Nigam.

The opposition Left Front has decided to take out a condolence rally from Sangrampur railway station Thursday.

A health official said the victims died of cardio-respiratory failure due to methyl poisoning.

Those taken ill have been admitted to the Diamond Harbour Hospital, health centres and nursing homes. Some have been shifted to Kolkata.

"From around 2 a.m. Wednesday, people started vomiting, had loose motions and complained of serious stomach pain," said a Sangrampur resident.

Locals said quite a few people died outside the hospital as well.

The state government has announced a compensation of Rs.2 lakh each to the families of those who died.

This is one of the worst liquor tragedies in India. Earlier in 1992, over 200 people had died in Orissa after consuming spurious liquor. In 2009, a similar incident in Gujarat left 136 dead.







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The main pavilion at Kingsway Camp in 1911 erected for the former British royalty for the coronation durbar. Three days after the coronation durbar, the foundation of the new city was laid Dec 15, 1911. The city was named New Delhi in 1927 and was formally inaugurated Feb 13, 1931.



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