25 deaths in Assam tea gardens for spuripus liquor

At least 25 tea garden workers died after drinking spurious country liquor in eastern Assam's Golaghat district.

At least 25 tea garden workers including 14 women died after drinking spurious country liquor in eastern Assam's Golaghat district since Thursday evening.

At least 60 others are admitted in hospitals and according to health department officials, the number of deaths could increase.

Health officials in the district said four garden workers belonging to Halmira tea estate, who were rushed to a local government hospital died around 7.30pm on Thursday. Sixteen others died on Friday.

"All of them were admitted in drunken state and so we suspect that the country liquor they consumed contained poisonous substance like methyle. But we will be able to tell the exact cause of the deaths after we get the postmortem reports," a health department official said.

Drinking of country liquor is rampant among tea garden workers, who constitute nearly 20% of the state's total population. Assam produces over 50% of the country's total tea production but poor living condition of the garden workers is a long concern. 

Garden workers said some livestock feed items are mixed to prepare the country liquor and this could have poisoned the liquor. The practice continue in the gardens despite many drive against country liquor.

General secretary of All Adivasi Students' Association of Assam, Deben Orang blamed the state excise department for its failure to check rampant use of country liquor, particularly in tea gardens. 

The incident rocked the ongoing budget session of Assam Assembly, where MLAs of both ruling BJP and opposition Congress raised the issue. The state excise minister Parimal Suklabaidya ordered an inquiry into the incident and announced a drive and awareness program in tea gardens soon.

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25 deaths in Assam tea gardens for spuripus liquor

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