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Odisha liquor tragedy toll rises to four, probe ordered

Government officials said four people of Tihidi area of district died soon after a group of 20 people had a post-poll dinner near Pira Hat area on Tuesday evening. While one of them reportedly died in the village, 3 others died while undergoing treatment at a hospital in Bhadrak.

india Updated: Apr 30, 2019 23:20 IST
Debabrata Mohanty
Debabrata Mohanty
Hindustan Times, Bhubaneswar
liquor,Odisha,Rama Chandra Padhiari
The deceased have been identified as Sadhu Charan Nayak, Sarbeswar Das and Rama Chandra Padhiari.(HT Photo)

Post-election revelry turned into tragedy on Monday night with at least four people dying after allegedly drinking spurious alcohol in Bhadrak district that went for polls in the fourth and final phase of assembly and Lok Sabha election on April 29.

At least 15 others have been admitted to hospitals after they complained of nausea, stomach ache and vomiting.

Government officials said four people of Tihidi area of district died soon after a group of 20 people had a post-poll dinner near Pira Hat area on Tuesday evening. While one of them reportedly died in the village, 3 others died while undergoing treatment at a hospital in Bhadrak.

Officials said the villagers had taken mutton and liquor on April 28. The next day they drank and ate the meat that was left over. There were unconfirmed reports of two more deaths.

Chief district Medical Officer of Bhadrak, Dr BK Dash said the sick villagers had dined on stale mutton curry and drank rum.

“The complications may have arisen due to consumption of liquor and stale mutton. Many of the persons who took liquor are likely to have suffered from heatstroke as they were going around polling booths in scorching heat. The exact reason of deaths would be known after the viscera samples of the deceased are tested,” said the CDMO.

Bhadrak district collector Gyana Das said it is still not clear whether the deceased and other critical patients drank spurious liquor. “We are suspecting the deaths due to spurious liquor. I have ordered an administrative probe to ascertain the exact cause of the liquor deaths,” said Das. Two of the 20 others who were taken ill after consuming the liquor have been shifted to SCB Medical College and Hospital in Cuttack.

Following the incident, locals and family members staged a protest on Bhadrak-Chandbali road.

The district administration had ordered closure of all liquor shops in the district a day ago due to elections. State excise secretary Nikunja Dhal said a joint investigation will be carried out Revenue, Health & Police departments. “As the incident took place on polling day, we are taking this matter seriously,” he said.

First Published: Apr 30, 2019 12:13 IST