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Kallakurichi: 34 Dead After Consuming Illicit Liquor in Tamil Nadu

34 individuals from Kallakurichi district have lost their lives due to the consumption of illicitly manufactured arrack laced with methanol. The victims, including two women and one transgender individual consumed spurious liquor that led to 34 confirmed deaths and 116 people being hospitalized.

Kallakurichi: 34 Dead After Consuming Illicit Liquor in Tamil Nadu

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The incident occurred in Kallakurichi district, where residents consumed ‘packet arrack’ that was illicitly produced and adulterated with methanol.

Initial reports show that the consumption of this tainted liquor led to severe poisoning resulting in the deaths of 34 individuals.

Authorities have arrested four individuals linked to the distribution of the toxic arrack. Law enforcement officials have also confiscated 200 litres of illicit liquor to prevent such incidents.

CM Stalin has announced an ex gratia of ₹10 lakh for the families of each deceased victim. A financial aid of ₹50,000 will be provided to those who are currently receiving medical treatment in various hospitals.

Many affected individuals are undergoing treatment at Kallakurichi Medical College Hospital. Some critically ill patients have been transferred to specialized facilities including Puducherry’s JIPMER Hospital and the government hospital in Salem for advanced medical care.

CM Stalin has instructed the establishment of a one-man commission led by retired Madras High Court Judge B. Gokuldas, to investigate the causes of the tragedy and recommend measures to prevent similar incidents.

The state Home Secretary and the Director General of Police have been tasked with conducting a thorough inspection and submitting a detailed report on the incident.

Kallakurichi District Collector Sravan Kumar Jatavath has been transferred and Superintendent of Police Samay Singh Meena along with nine other police personnel has been suspended for their failure to prevent the incident.

New appointments have been made with MS Prasanth taking over as the district collector and Rajath Chaturvedi as the new Superintendent of Police for Kallakurichi.

Opposition leaders including AIADMK’s Edappadi K. Palaniswami demanding the resignation of CM Stalin and criticizing the state government’s handling of illicit liquor issues.

Tamil Nadu Governor R. N. Ravi expressed serious concern over the continuous lapses in controlling the production and sale of illicit liquor.

The commission led by Judge Gokuldas will investigate the incident and also provide recommendations for systemic changes to combat the production and sale of illicit liquor.

CM Stalin addressed the government’s commitment to cracking down on illicit liquor operations with an “iron fist” and called for public cooperation in reporting such activities to authorities.

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Chief Minister M.K. Stalin announced financial assistance of Rs 10 lakh to the families of the deceased and Rs 50,000 to those receiving treatment.

He also set up a commission led by retired Madras High Court Judge B. Gokuldas to investigate the tragedy.

The Leader of Opposition, Edappadi K. Palaniswami demanded a government job for eligible family members of the victims.

The incident sparked in social media with hashtags like #ResignStalin and #SarayaModel trending on platforms like ‘X’.

The state government has launched an investigation through the CB-CID to probe the source of the methanol. Authorities have arrested four individuals linked to the sale of the poisonous arrack and seized approximately 200 liters of the illicit substance.

The government has deployed senior ministers to Kallakurichi to assist the affected families and ensure the well-being of those hospitalized. Health Minister Ma Subramanian and Public Works Minister E.V. Velu have been tasked with overseeing relief efforts.

In May 2023, 21 people died in similar incidents in the Villupuram and Chengalpet districts. The frequent occurrence of such incidents shows a systemic failures in controlling the production and distribution of illicit liquor.

The AIADMK leader pointed out that illicit liquor sales had been an issue and accused the ruling party of negligence. He also said that the sale of such liquor in close proximity to police stations and courts indicated the involvement of powerful individuals within the DMK.

The state BJP has announced a statewide protest against the DMK government’s handling of the situation, accusing it of patronizing those involved in the illicit liquor trade.

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