Methanol-laced liquor kills 47

KALLAKURICHI, INDIA – The death toll from methanol-laced liquor in the southern state of Tamil Nadu has risen to 47, with over 100 individuals still hospitalized, officials reported on Friday. The incident has sparked widespread concern and calls for stricter regulation of illicit alcohol production.

More than 150 people required medical attention after consuming the tainted liquor in the Kallakurichi district, located approximately 150 miles from Chennai, the state capital. Symptoms included severe vomiting, stomach aches, and diarrhea, leading to mass hospitalizations.

As of Friday morning, 118 people remain under treatment in various local hospitals. The state government has taken swift action, arresting four individuals involved in the illegal sale of the contaminated alcohol and seizing 200 liters of the dangerous concoction.

Authorities have also disciplined ten officials for their failure to prevent the distribution of the illicit liquor. This tragic event is a stark reminder of the recurrent issue of deaths caused by illegally produced alcohol in India, often referred to as “hooch” or “country liquor.” Many people resort to these cheaper alternatives due to the high cost of branded spirits.

Efforts are now underway to trace the source of the methanol, a toxic substance typically used for industrial purposes. The Tamil Nadu government has pledged to identify and prosecute those responsible for its production and distribution.

The incident has drawn significant political attention, with state ministers and opposition leaders visiting the affected district to meet with victims and their families. Videos from local media depicted mass cremations and families performing last rites, evoking memories of the COVID-19 pandemic’s devastating impact on the country.

This tragedy follows a similar incident last year in a nearby district of Tamil Nadu, where more than a dozen people lost their lives due to contaminated liquor. The recurring nature of these incidents highlights the urgent need for effective measures to curb the illegal alcohol trade in India.