What measures taken in past year to prevent hooch tragedies: Madras HC to TN government

Madras High Court grills TN govt; division bench expresses concern over the deaths of breadwinners, tells the state to file a comprehensive report
The Kallakurichi Government hospital was enveloped in group after one of the worst hooch tragedies in TN.
The Kallakurichi Government hospital was enveloped in group after one of the worst hooch tragedies in TN.(Express Photo | Sriram R)

CHENNAI: Talking tough on the alleged negligence and callous attitude of the authorities in preventing the hooch tragedy in Kallakurichi, the Madras High Court on Friday grilled the Tamil Nadu government on the actions taken in the past year since the last such tragedy occurred, which snuffs out the lives of poor people.

A division bench of Justices D. Krishnakumar and K. Kumaresh Babu, while hearing a public interest litigation petition filed by AIADMK advocate I.S. Inbadurai seeking a CBI probe into the tragedy, posed several questions to Advocate General P.S. Raman, who represented the state government.

“This incident cannot be taken very lightly. It is about the lives of poor people. Tell us what action has been taken after the last such tragedy happened in 2023,” the bench asked. “All that we want to know is whether you have learned a lesson, as there was an illicit arrack tragedy in 2023,” it said. The bench was referring to the incidents that happened in Villupuram and Chengalpattu districts, in which 22 lives were lost.

The Kallakurichi Government hospital was enveloped in group after one of the worst hooch tragedies in TN.
Death toll in Kallakurichi hooch tragedy rises to 49

The bench also wanted to know about the government officials responsible for the hooch tragedy in Kallakurichi, the actions taken in the last year to curb the ‘unbridled sale of illicit liquor’ that was freely available on the streets, and the number of cases registered across the state.

The bench noted that a news report was published in a newspaper, indicating illicit arrack was being sold in Kallakurichi before the current incident took place.

“What action has been taken by the police department or the district administration? I had occasion to view a YouTuber’s interview making allegations against particular persons responsible for brewing and selling illicit liquor in the Kalvarayan hills. Have you swept this under the carpet?” queried the bench.

It observed that most of the victims are breadwinners of their families. The AG submitted that 47 persons have died so far and 117 are undergoing treatment, of whom 87 are in stable condition.

The Kallakurichi Government hospital was enveloped in group after one of the worst hooch tragedies in TN.
Kallakurichi hooch tragedy deaths resonate in TN assembly, opposition MLAs demand CM Stalin's resignation; evicted

Explaining the action taken by the government to save the lives of those under treatment, he said that 162 doctors have been deputed to Kallakurichi to ensure the required treatment.

He told the court four persons have been arrested in connection with the incident. Stating that the CB-CID will get to the bottom of the issue and unearth the source of methanol and how it was transported to the village in Kallakurichi, the AG also said the one-man commission headed by retired High Court judge B. Gokuldas will suggest steps for preventing the recurrence of such tragedies.

Directing the state to file a comprehensive report on the Kallakurichi tragedy and the actions taken across the state to curb the brewing and selling of illicit arrack, the bench posted the matter to June 26 for further hearing.

The Kallakurichi Government hospital was enveloped in group after one of the worst hooch tragedies in TN.
AIADMK seeks CBI probe into Kallakurichi hooch tragedy, files PIL in Madras HC

Related Stories

No stories found.

X
The New Indian Express
www.newindianexpress.com