Cuttack: Spurious liquor so far has claimed 30 lives in different parts of Cuttack and Bhubaneswar thereby forcing the State Government for a judicial probe into the matter.
Meanwhile Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has ordered for a judicial probe into the alleged hooch tragedy today. Though only six persons had died by yesterday, the death toll rose to 30 by Wednesday.
“There has been a significant rise in the number of casualties and number of people affected who are now undergoing treatment at S.C.B Medical College and Hospital,” said SCB Emergency officer B.N Moharana.
According to Moharana, adequate measures have been undertaken by the hospital and district administration to provide treatment to those affected. So far around 50 people who have fallen sick are undergoing treatment at the medicine, outpatient and ICU of the the hospital.
SCB officials have further said that most of those coming to the hospital have said that they have consumed liquor while others said to have consumed cough syrup. We have sent the blood samples of those affected for tests at
Bhubaneswar and only postmortem report can reveal whether the deaths are due to spurious liquor or not, Moharana added.
The Commissionerate police and the district collector of Cuttack however today said that the tragedy struck due to a deadly mixture of a country liquor with some highly intoxicating substances produced by a pharmaceutical company, Eastern India Pharmaceutical at Rasulgarh in Bhubaneswar. The Commissionerate police conducted raids on the company and seized a few bottles of containing the deadly substance.
“The killer brew contained about 60 percent spirits,”said B K Shrama, Cuttack-Bhubaneswar Commissioner. The police has arrested three persons, Umakanta Rath, the owner of the company, his daughter-in-law and the manager in this connection.
The police said that the company had obtained licence from the excise department only a fortnight ago to procure rectified spirit. But the company used the spirit for production of the liquid that was added to the killer brew.
The hooch tragedy has however provided a perfect ammunition to the Opposition Congress and the BJP to corner the ruling BJD at the time of the panchayat elections. , protesting against the illegal sale of liquor, various political parties today staged demonstrations in Cuttack.
Congress activists burnt the effigy of Chief Minister Naveen Patniak near Ranihat demanding for the resignation of excise minister and also submitted a memorandum to the governor demanding arrest of excise commissioner.
Earlier, five persons including the seller of spurious liquor Baidhar Bhoi had died after consuming the intoxicant yesterday. His son and wife have been arrested by police.
Bhoi, who hails from Tukulipada area under Sadar police limits, was earlier arrested for selling country made liquor illegally.
Around 20 people from different places under Sadar police limits had allegedly consumed the country made liquor on Monday. Following the incident, most of the people from Badajharilo and nearby areas were rushed to Mahidarpada hospital and were later shifted to SCB MCH on Tuesday.
Similarly, excise officials have said that a lot of labourers from Balianta area under Khurda have also died after consuming medicines which are usually prescribed for common cold and cough.
“It is not a case of spurious liquor rather most of the people had consumed an ayurvedic tonic which had a high alcohol percent in Tukulipada and nearby areas under sadar police limits,” said excise superintendent
Pradipta Ranjan Patnaik.