Cuttack: At least 26 people have died and 25 are serious after consuming spurious liquor in Cuttack. Most of the victims were daily wage earners and worked in a brick kiln in Cuttack.
Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has ordered a judicial enquiry into the tragedy. Two people have already been arrested in the case.
The labourers complained of chest and eye pain after consuming liquor on Monday night. Many of them were admitted to SCB Medical College at Cuttack in critical condition.
Five of the dead have been identified as as Baidhar Bhoi, owner of the liquor joint, Ugrasen Bhoi, Niranjan Bhoi, Bhaskar Das and Sura Das.
Baidhar's son Benudhar Bhoi and his wife Malati have been arrested in connection with the incident.
"We have seized a huge quantity of ayurvedic liquid mixture stored at Bhoi's liquor shop. Most of the deceased were suspected to have consumed ayurvedic mixture available in the brand name of 'Jinger' and 'Suravhi'," State Excise Commissioner Sudarsan Nayak said.
Police and excise personnel were in search of other people who had consumed liquor at Bhoi's liquor shop, he said.
Deaths have taken place in several villages spread over Mahidharpada and Balianta areas of Cuttack and adjoining Khurda districts respectively, district Collector Girish said.
People within five km radius of Mahidharpada have been affected by the killer drink, he said, adding the tragedy struck due to a deadly mixture as country liquor had been mixed with some cough syrup procured from a pharma company located at Rasulgarh area of Bhubaneswar.
The pharmaceutical company's unit was raided and sealed on Tuesday night and further investigation was on, he said.
(Additional information from PTI)