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Death toll from drinking tainted liquor nears 100 in India
11 February 2019, 10:25 | Devin Moran
Indian police gather around containers of bootleg alcohol in 2017. AFP Getty Images
More than 50 people died in Uttar Pradesh's Saharanpur district, while 18 more died at the Meerut Medical College, the IANS news agency reported.
In Rorkee of Haridwar district in Uttarakhand the death toll has risen to 28 and many others are hospitalized.
The death toll had stood at 99 on Saturday.
Kumar says victims consumed liquor during a customary feast.
Twenty-two people were admitted to hospitals in Saharanpur but were in stable condition, Pandey said. Around 1,066 liters of hooch have been seized during the raid and over 50 people detained in state, reports said.
State authorities have ordered a probe into the tragedy, and many police officers and officials have been suspended on charges of negligence or collusion in connection with the illicit trade.
Of the estimated five billion litres of alcohol drunk every year in India, around 40 percent is illegally produced, according to the International Spirits and Wine Association of India.
Illicit liquor, which is often spiked with chemicals such as pesticides to increase potency, has also become a hugely profitable industry across the country because bootleggers pay no taxes and sell enormous quantities of their product to the poor at a cheap rate.
The liquor is usually made with poor-quality ingredients and sometimes mixed with industrial alcohol and toxic substances.
Dharam Singh told the Indian Express his brother died after consuming the bootleg alcohol and four other relatives were taken to the hospital due to ingesting it.
Bootleg liquor operations flourish in rural India, where many people can't afford to buy alcohol from state-approved shops.
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