CUTTACK: At least four persons died and seven others were taken seriously ill allegedly due to overdose of medicinal formulations with high alcohol content at several villages under Cuttack Sadar police limits late on Monday.
While the Excise Department and police have arrested two persons, including a woman, in this connection, the nature of the brew has come as a shocker. The bottles, recovered from the house of the main accused and supplier, Baidhar Bhoi of Tukulpada, who also lost his life, were found to have contained Orange Tincture and Epeecarm.
Orange Tincture BP is a solution with an ethanol content as high as between 62 and 69 per cent. It is used mainly as a flavouring agent during manufacture of pharmaceutical drugs.
Epeecarm also has high concentration of alcohol but more dangerously has high beladona content which can cause poisoning. It is also used a flavouring and colouring agent in drug making.
How the raw materials were procured or supplied for consumption as a substitute of liquor has raised several questions on the efficacy of drug control and monitoring mechanisms in the State.
According to reports, the victims were all daily labourers working at different brick kilns in the Sadar area while Baidhar was a known bootlegger.
They used to procure country liquor from him.
On Monday night, they had reportedly boozed together at Baidhar’s house. About 20 bottles, including three of Orange Tincture BP, and the rest Epeecarm had been consumed as the empty bottles reflect.
The people soon complained of chest pain and nausea and were rushed to the Mahidharpada PHC and then referred to the SCB Medical. Three died at the hospital while Baidhar died at his house.
As Excise officials led by SP Pradipta Patnaik and
Sadar police raided the house they found the empty bottles as well as two unconsumed ones that were hidden
inside a clay pot. Baidhar’s
wife Chhabi and son Benudhar, who had been assisting him in the illicit liquor business, were immediately arrested.
“We are astonished to find raw materials for production of drugs finding their way out of factories to the market and consumed by the people as substitutes for liquor. This is a dangerous development,” Excise SP Patnaik said.