LUCKNOW: In what’s turning out to be the worst-ever hooch tragedy in the country, the toll in Saharanpur and Roorkee on Saturday reached 94. Scores of victims continue to remain critical and are recuperating in various hospitals across UP including Meerut Medical College.
As many as 175 persons have been arrested in connection with the tragedy while 297 cases were registered against the hooch trading mafia, officials said. Thousands of litres of spurious liquor were also recovered in the statewide crackdown.
The suspects mainly belong to Sahaisi, a nomadic tribe, camping around the affected village in Roorkee. District authorities are contemplating to invoke National Security Act (NSA) against the main culprits.
In Saharanpur alone, bordering the hill state of Uttarakhand, the toll reached 64 while in Roorkee-Haridwar it stood at 30.
The number of victims continued to rise as Saharanpur District Magistrate Alok Pandey and SSP Dinesh Kumar P remained stationed at the district hospital to supervise the treatment of the victims.Around two dozen patients from Saharanpur were referred to Meerut medical college on Friday, of which, 18 have already succumbed.
Although the Uttarakhand adiminstration has pegged the official casualty figure at 24, the number is much higher, say people in the worst-hit Balupur village on Roorkee-Haridwar border.
However, the Saharanpur administration swung into action after directives issued by the highest excise and police authorities on Saturday night when UP DGP OP Singh and Principal Secretary, Excise, held a conference call with all the DMs and SSP, across the state asking them to launch an immediate state-wide drive to identify those involved in illegal trade of spurious liquor.