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Tamil Nadu hooch tragedy: Residents allege brewing & sale of illicit liquor went unchecked, police clueless

Karunapuram colony is dominated by daily-wage labourers who fell for “cheap liquor” that were being sold for anywhere between Rs 10 to Rs 50 in packets as the minimum price of a liquor bottle sold in state-owned TASMAC was over Rs 100.
Last Updated : 20 June 2024, 15:38 IST

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Chennai: After losing over 30 people from their locality to the hooch tragedy, residents of Karunapuram in Kallakurichi town on Thursday alleged that brewing, sale, and consumption of illicit liquor went unchecked in the area for the past few months despite locals complaining to police.

They alleged that illicit liquor was sold in autorickshaws, two-wheelers, in huts, and in shops. 

The residents, who are yet to come out of the shock after having lost relatives and neighbours to the man-made tragedy, said one Kannukutty, who has been arrested by Kallakurichi police after the incident, was responsible for selling spurious liquor in many parts of the town and he continued with his “business” without the fear of being caught. 

Karunapuram colony is dominated by daily-wage labourers who fell for “cheap liquor” that were being sold for anywhere between Rs 10 to Rs 50 in packets as the minimum price of a liquor bottle sold in state-owned TASMAC was over Rs 100. 

“Do you think all this happened without the knowledge of local police? Such packet liquor is sold in many huts in Karunapuram after it goes dark and before dawn. People have been falling victim to spurious liquor, but this incident has brought focus on the sale of illicit liquor as over 30 people are dead,” Suresh, a resident of Karunapuram colony, said.

Suresh also asked if the district administration can recover about 900 litres of spurious liquor in just a day after the tragedy why didn’t they swing into action when the “business” was being run unhindered. “Tough questions need to be asked to the government. The government should answer to the wails of women and children who have lost their loved ones,” he said.

Shanti, another resident, alleged that they continued to inform police about the brewing and sale of illicit liquor, but no strict action was taken against the culprits. “If we complain, they will come and seize illicit liquor and arrest the person. He will remain silent for a few weeks and his men will resume brewing spurious liquor. This has been happening here for a very long time,” a furious Shanti said. 

The residents said the spurious liquor is generally brewed in Kalvarayan Hills and supplied to various parts of Kallakurichi district. “We are told that people ordered spurious liquor over the phone. We don't know whether it is true. But what we know is illicit liquor flows freely in areas where people from the marginalized sections live,” Sumathi, another resident, said. 

She added that everyone in the area knew about consumption of illicit liquor as people weren’t willing to go far to TASMAC shops to buy liquor. “I think it is the police who should take the blame. If spurious liquor is brought from hills to plains, do you think it can happen without the knowledge of police? I think the administration knew about this but turned a blind eye,” Sumathi alleged. 

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Published 20 June 2024, 15:38 IST

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