TN hooch tragedy: Death toll rises to 40; government, BJP announce compensation

TN hooch tragedy: Death toll rises to 40; government, BJP announce compensation

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Chennai: Udhayanidhi Stalin meets a Hooch Tragedy victim at a hospital

Chennai, June 20 (IANS) The death count in the hooch tragedy in Tamil Nadu's Kallakurichi district is steadily climbing while those battling for life in the hospitals are complaining of vision problems.

According to reports, the number of persons who have lost their lives consuming the killer drink has touched 40 and over 100 persons are undergoing treatment in various hospitals with many battling for their lives.

Chief Minister M.K.Stalin on Thursday morning announced a compensation of Rs 10 lakh each to the 34 families who had lost their loved ones.

In a statement issued here, he also said the government has also appointed a one-man commission under retired High Court Justice B. Gokuldas to look into the issue and recommend measures to prevent such occurrences in the future. He said the orders have been issued to pay Rs10 lakh to the families of the dead and Rs 50,000 out of the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund to those getting treated in the hospitals.

He said four persons have been arrested in this connection and action will also be taken against those who had supplied methanol for making the illicit liquor.

The CM said the CBCID (Crime Branch-CID) has been asked to investigate the source of methanol.

According to him, action has been taken against the police officials concerned and the District Collector has been transferred. Meanwhile, Stalin’s son and Youth Welfare and Sports Development Minister Udhayanidhi Stalin visited the affected people in the hospital and later distributed the Rs.10 lakh compensation to the families who had lost their loved ones.

Meanwhile, AIADMK General Secretary and former Chief Minister K Palaniswami demanded the resignation of Stalin accepting responsibility for the death of several people after consuming the illicit liquor. He alleged that the illicit liquor was being sold in the centre of the Kallakurichi district with the authorities turning a blind eye.

Palaniswami said the party MLA from Kallakurichi M. Senthilkumar had complained to the police about the sale of illicit liquor and had even brought a calling attention motion in the Assembly earlier on the issue. But the DMK government led by Stalin did not do anything, Palaniswami charged.

Tamil Nadu BJP President K. Annamalai visited the affected families and consoled them. He also said Rs 1 lakh will be paid by the party to the families as relief.

Governor R.N. Ravi, condoling the deaths and wishing a speedy recovery of the victims, blamed the state government for its lapses. "Every now and then tragic loss of lives due to consumption of illicit liquor are reported from various parts of our state. This reflects continuing lapses in preventing the production and consumption of illicit liquor. This is a matter of serious concern."

The continued hooch tragedies in Tamil Nadu show the callous attitude of the state government, said actor-turned-politician Vijay, president, of the TVK.

Coming down heavily on the DMK government led by Chief Minister Stalin for the first time after floating his party, Vijay also strongly urged the government to take strong preventive action so that such events do not occur again. Recalling last year’s hooch deaths in the state where over 20 people lost their lives, Vijay posted on X that even before coming out of the grief of the earlier tragedy, another such event shows the government’s callous attitude.

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