50 die from tainted liquor in India

At least 50 people died and another 50 were sickened after drinking tainted liquor in two separate incidents in India's remote northeast, a government official said Friday.
Commissioner Julie Sonowal said the victims were mostly tea plantation workers in the Golaghat and Jorhat districts in Assam state.
The workers consumed tainted liquor laced with methyl alcohol, a chemical that attacks the central nervous system, on Thursday and started falling unconscious. They were rushed to hospitals and the death toll hit 50, Sonowal said.
The owner of a brew-making unit and four others have been arrested, Sonowal said. The area is nearly 300 kilometres (185 miles) east of Gauhati, the capital of Assam state.
Deaths from illegally brewed alcohol are common in India because the poor cannot afford licensed brands. Illicit liquor is cheap and often spiked to increase potency.
Illicit liquor also has become a hugely profitable industry across India where bootleggers pay no taxes and sell enormous quantities of their product to poor at a cheap rate.
Early this month, 79 people died after drinking tainted liquor in two separate incidents in northern Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand states.

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