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10 February 2019, 02:12 | Devin Moran
23 die, scores sick after consuming fake alcoholic drink
While 13 excise department officials and four policemen were suspended in Uttarakhand, Saharanpur SSP suspended ten policemen, including an SHO, from Gagalhedi and Naagal police stations, under which all the affected villages fall.
"The Chief Minister has asked Principal secretary Excise department to initiate a departmental inquiry to fix responsibility and ordered Director-General of Police take stern action against the people involved in the sale of spurious liquor", a government spokesman said. Apart from this, he announced an ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh each to the kin of the deceased and Rs 50,000 each to those undergoing treatment.
"In that feast spurious alcohol was served, which was consumed there by the people who had travelled for the feast from Saharanpur."
The origin of the tragedy in both the district was traced to Baalpur village of Haridwar.
Many of the Saharanpur victims were not immediately admitted to hospital as the area was hit by rain and a hailstorm, he said.
Alok Kumar Pandey, district magistrate, said a feast had taken place where several of the deaths occurred.
In some of the worst cases of such poisoning, 200 people died in 1992 in Odisha state, 180 in West Bengal in 2011 and 100 in the city of Mumbai in 2015.
"Nine people were killed due to consumption of illicit liquor and 15 others are undergoing treatment", A K Pandey, District Magistrate Saharanpur said. With 16 more deaths at the Meerut hospital, the figure goes up to 34. However, authorities failed to confirm it was caused by spurious liquor as families cremated the bodies before police could intervene.
Haridwar Superintendent of Police (SP) confirmed that the death toll increased to 14 from 12.
Sub-inspector Shailendra Kumar Sharma told The Indian Express that local residents had consumed liquor at the tehravin in Balupur and brought back some of the liquor to Saharanpur. Additional commissioner (excise) OP Arya said in Kushinagar that hooch was being smuggled from bordering Bihar.
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