Lucknow: In two separate incidents, 38 people were killed by consuming spurious liquor in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand. The first incident was reported from Saharanpur, which claimed 16 lives, while in adjoining Haridwar district, 12 deaths have been reported.
Victims who are from the adjoining districts of the states are said to have procured the spurious liquor from the same source.
The incident came to light on Friday morning after five deaths were reported in Saharanpur's Umahi village and 10 people were hospitalised in serious condition. Locals said that they had consumed spurious liquor. Many were taken ill and are undergoing treatment at various hospitals. The condition of the admitted remain critical, a doctor said.
Similarly, in Sharbatpur village, three people were killed, while more deaths were reported from the nearby areas, taking the death toll to 16, by the time this report was filed.
Swinging into action, the district administration and local police have begun investigation, while UP CM Yogi Adityanath has announced an ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh to the next of kin of each of those who died and Rs 50,000 for those undergoing treatment.
The chief minister has ordered departmental action against district excise officers of Kushinagar and Saharanpur from where deaths have been reported. He has ordered a 15-day joint drive by excise and police officials against those involved in the spurious liquor trade.
The deceased in Umahi village have been identified as Kanwarpal, Arvind, Imran, Pintu and Raju. Police is still ascertaining identities of the remaining deceased.
Three days ago, 10 people were killed in a similar tragedy in east UP's Kushinagar, prompting district administration to suspend nine officials, including local SHO and excise inspector. A case was filed in this connection and one person was arrested. The villagers had consumed liquor during Mauni Amavasya mela, which turned out to be spurious.
Meanwhile, in the neighbouring state of Uttarakhand, 12 people were killed and at least eight were stated to be critical after they consumed homemade illicit liquor in Haridwar district.
According to an official of the excise department, the illicit liquor was consumed during a funeral procession in a village some 80 kilometres from here on Thursday night.
Archana Gaharwar, deputy excise commissioner (Uttarakhand), said that 13 employees have been suspended. "We have suspended 13 employees of the enforcement team for negligence after 12 people died in the twin villages,” said deputy excise commissioner. A magisterial inquiry has also been ordered to probe the incident.
(With inputs from Anupam Trivedi in Uttarakhand)