Odisha minister quits over hooch tragedy

Senior BJD leader and state excise minister Anang Udaya Singhdeo resigned from his post on Thursday afternoon in connection with the hooch tragedy in coastal Cuttack and Khurda districts which had already claimed 33 lives so far. On Wednesday, the death toll was 30.

More than 70 people affected in the incident are still struggling for life in different hospitals in Cuttack and capital Bhubaneswar.

Singhdeo said, he decided to quit owning morale responsibility for the tragedy besides paving way for a free and fair inquiry into the incident. The state government has already ordered a judicial probe into the tragedy which will be conducted by a retired judge of the state High Court.

“I resigned on morale grounds. There was no other consideration. Moreover, the government has ordered a judicial probe into the tragedy. I hope my resignation would pave way for a free and fair inquiry”, he said rejecting speculations that he was being pressured by a section of his party to quit.  The opposition parties like Congress and BJP had demanded Singhdeo’s resignation following the tragedy. Patnaik said, he has already sent Singhdeo’s resignation letter to Governor Murli Dhar Bhandare for his acceptance.

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