Illicit liquor in Andhra town claims 18 lives in a week

Preliminary inquiry shows that the deceased were suspected to be suffering from cardiac ailments and post-Covid complications. Locals, however, say sale of illicit liquor is high in the area

Representative image
Representative image


Consumption of spurious liquor has claimed 18 lives in Andhra Pradesh's West Godavari district during the last one week. Two persons succumbed on Saturday, taking the death toll to 18 in Jangareddygudem town even as officials from various departments were conducting an investigation.

According to officials, a man identified as Anil died at a hospital early Saturday, while hours later Upendra, a native of Odisha, succumbed at Jangareddygudem Government Hospital.

The condition of another person Varadaraju is stated to be critical. He is undergoing treatment at Guntur Government Hospital.

Meanwhile, officials of the Revenue, Police, Excise, Special Enforcement Bureau (SEB), Medical and Health departments were conducting an inquiry into the cause of deaths. The teams were visiting the houses of the victims to gather details as part of the investigation.

Nagalakshmi, whose husband Appa Rao (46) died three days ago, lodged a complaint with the police. She alleged that he died due to consumption of contaminated arrack. Police began a probe into her complaint.

West Godavari Superintendent of Police Rahul Sarma visited the town on Friday and gathered details.

Families of the victims claimed that they died after consumption of spurious country-made liquor. Within hours after consuming the liquor, the victims complained of giddiness, vomiting, stomachache and diarrhoea. The victims were aged between 35 and 65 years.

Officials, however, said preliminary inquiry show they died due to different reasons. They were suspected to be suffering from health problems like cardiac ailments and post-Covid complications. However, a detailed investigation is on to ascertain the reasons.

Locals say sale of illicitly distilled liquor is high in Jangareddygudem and surrounding areas.

Meanwhile, the main opposition Telugu Desam Party (TDP) has blamed the state government for the deaths.

TDP women's wing Telugu Mahila president Vangalapudi Anitha demanded that the YSRCP government initiate immediate steps to save people's lives by preventing sale of illicit liquor, ganja and country-made arrack.

Anitha alleged that from grama volunteers to MPs and MLAs, all the ruling YSRCP leaders were carrying out illegal arrack and ganja selling activities. How could Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy play a spectator role when so many people were losing their lives, she asked.

The TDP leader expressed concern that cheap liquor was proving very harmful and taking a heavy toll on the health and lives of the people consuming it.

Anitha cautioned the Chief Minister against delaying action against the ganja and liquor gangs. There would be serious repercussions if women would start revolting against the YSRCP regime, she said.

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