Tainted liquor kills 55 in India

By HARBAKSH SINGH NANDA  |  Dec. 1, 2001 at 12:53 PM
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NEW DELHI, Dec. 1 (UPI) -- At least 55 people have died and 200 others are battling for life after consuming spurious liquor in India's southern Tamil Nadu state. Many of the victims died in their sleep, while others were rushed to hospital.

At least 30 people have lost eye sight after drinking killer brew.

This is the third tragedy involving tainted liquor in Tamil Nadu in less than two months.

The latest incident occurred Friday evening after people drank contaminated liquor supplied by women. Doctors say The victims drank the potent brew and soon complained of giddiness and loss of vision.

Doctors at the hospital said stomach pumping had helped some of the victims but many still remain in a critical condition.

Cheap homemade brew is mixed with methyl alcohol to make it more potent, which can cause blindness or death.

Tamil Nadu is plagued by spurious liquor deaths.

Two months ago 22 people died in a similar incident in a town near Madras. A similar incident in Panrutti village in 1984 reportedly killed 40 people.

At least 3,000 people die each year in India by drinking similar liquids.

Tamil Nadu state is notorious for the brewing of saraayam and other homemade alcohol. Tamil Nadu was a dry state until the early 1990s, but moonshine now serves as a cheap substitute for government-licensed liquor.

A sachet of 100 milliliters of the brew usually costs 10 rupees (21 cents), half the price of legal liquor brands.

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