At least 42 people have died and nearly 100 have been hospitalized since Monday after drinking smuggled adulterated liquor in Potat and Ahmedabad districts of western India’s Gujarat state, police said on Thursday.
“31 people died after consuming adulterated liquor in Bodat. Another 50 have been hospitalized in neighboring Bhavnagar district,” Bhavnagar law enforcement inspector general Ashok Yadav told AFP.
In Ahmedabad, eleven deaths have been reported, said senior police officer V. Chandrasekhar said.
In the state of Gujarat, where Prime Minister Narendra Modi is visiting, consumption and sale of alcohol is prohibited by law.
According to Yadav, residents of half a dozen villages drank alcohol supplied by a local trader last Sunday.
“Investigation has revealed that the cause of death of the victims was ingestion of industrial methanol,” state home minister Harsh Sangavi said in a statement.
On his part, Sanghavi said 97 people are undergoing treatment at the hospital. Two of them are in critical condition.
Police have already arrested several people for selling liquor illegally in Gujarat state.
Hundreds of people die every year in India from alcohol poisoning produced in clandestine breweries.
Of the 5 billion liters of liquor consumed in India every year, 40% comes illegally, according to the International Spirits and Wine Association of India.
Alcohol is often substituted with methanol to increase its intensity.
Ingestion of methanol can cause blindness, liver damage and even death.
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