Punjab Hooch Tragedy: CM Meets Victims’ Kin, Promises Relief

CM also promised ₹5 lakh as compensation to those who have lost their eyesight after consuming illicit liquor.

2 min read
File image of Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh.

Family members of victims of Punjab’s hooch tragedy will be provided ex gratia relief of ₹5 lakh, announced Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh, on Friday, 7 August, according to Hindustan Times.

Earlier, the state government had pledged an ex gratia relief amount of ₹2 lakh.

The death toll from the hooch tragedy has reportedly climbed to 121, with 92 deaths in Tarn Taran, 14 in Amritsar and 15 in Batla.

Punjab CM has also promised ₹5 lakh as compensation to those who have lost their eyesight after consuming illicit liquor, reported Hindustan Times.

Captain Amarinder Singh’s Visit

In his first field visit since the COVID-19 outbreak, Captain Amarinder Singh, accompanied by state Congress president Sunil Jakhar, among others, spoke to family members of the victims. Social distancing norms were reportedly adhered to in these interactions.

The Punjab CM also promised families of victims who are living in “kutcha” houses, that the state government will construct houses for them, reported Hindustan Times. Further, it was reportedly told to them that special prosecutors will be deployed in courts to make sure the accused get strict punishment.

About the Tragedy

According to Hindustan Times, the shortage of illegal extra neutral alcohol (ENA), the primary “raw material” for alcoholic beverage and the temptation to quickly earn money led to the devastation. The supply ran short as the ENA, usually available in black market, was now being used to make hand sanitizers amid the pandemic.

Once the lockdown was lifted, the demand for less expensive, “countrymade” liquor increased, reported Hindustan Times. The reports of deaths due to consumption of spurious alcoholic beverages began to surface on 29 July.

A senior police officer reportedly told Hindustan Times that the probe suggested presence of methanol in the liquor consumed by victims. Blurring of vision before death, a key symptom of methanol consumption, was also spotted in many victims.

The inquiry, under Jalandhar divisional commissioner Raj Kamal Chaudhary, began on 6 August, and the report is slated to be submitted in 21 days.

This devastation is being hailed as the state’s worst hooch tragedy.

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