Death toll from illicit alcohol in eastern India reaches 146

December 15th, 2011 - 10:28 pm ICT by BNO News  

KOLKATA, INDIA (BNO NEWS) — The death toll as a result of people consuming illegal liquor in India’s eastern state of West Bengal rose to at least 146 on Thursday, a health official said. Hundreds more have been hospitalized.

The victims became ill on early Wednesday morning after consuming liquor which was being sold at shacks near a railway station in Sangrampur village, which is located near the city of Kolkata. As many as 450 people are believed to have consumed the alcohol.

A district health official who spoke on the condition of anonymity confirmed at least 146 people had died as of late Thursday, while more than 300 others are still being treated at hospitals. Many of them are in a critical condition, and officials believe the death toll will rise further.

“More than 300 patients are already in the hospitals,” Kolkata Mayor Sovan Chatterjee told CNN-IBN. “The condition of the patients are not very good. Shifting to hospitals is not easy, but we are trying our level best to control the situation. It’s an unfortunate incident.”

Most of the victims, many of whom are poor workers, have complained of severe stomach pain, vomiting and chest pain. Samples of the alcohol have been sent for forensic examination to determine what exactly is in the drink.

Meanwhile, at least ten people have been arrested for supplying the illicit alcohol. Angry residents have also demolished the shacks where the liquor was being sold and complained that local police failed to act against the sale of illegal alcohol if the owners paid bribes.

In September, at least 26 people died in several parts of Kenya after also consuming illicit alcohol with extreme levels of methanol. Police said the victims drank from bottles of illegal alcohol known as Yokozuna, which contained fatal levels of methanol.

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