Hooch tragedy turns the life of 50 families upside down

Pall faces, mourning scenes, deserted streets, police and excise officials' raids and locked houses. These are the scenes witnessed in the tribal hamlets where 19 persons were killed after consuming hooch 10 days ago in Keertirayanigudem and Reddygudem panchayats.

Normal life of more than 50 families got disrupted due to the arrack prepared by mixing excess Methanol by some ID liquor manufacturers in Poratanagar Thanda, Kanimerla, Naguluru, and Edurubedem Thandas in the district on December 31.

‘Sankranti' celebrations turned tragic in the hamlets as the heads of several families were either dead or had landed in jail.

Some families involved in selling the ID liquor, escaped by locking their houses fearing police action after the incident.

Heart-rending scenes were witnessed in many houses as they lost their bread winners and the kin consoling the family members.

Groups of villagers were seen discussing the tragedy with panic at the ‘grama sarai' (village centre).

The police and the Excise officials booked 12 cases including Section.37 (A1) of A.P. Excise Act 1968, and under Section.304 of IPC (Culpable homicide not amounting to murder) against the accused, who prepared and sold the poison-laced hooch.

“The country-made liquor has completely destroyed our lives.

All the victims were labourers and used to hardly feed their families. Even the arrack sellers who were arrested in the case were not aware that the chemical (Methanol) was mixed in the ‘sara' and it will kill the people,'' said Tejavath Narayana of Poratanagar thanda.

Meanwhile, the Prohibition and Excise police arrested several people and bound over notorious hooch manufacturers in tribal hamlets in Mylavaram, Tiruvuru, Nizvid, Kahcnikacherla, Machilipatnam, Bantumilli, Jaggaiahpeta, and other areas in the district in the last 10 days.

In all 19 Lambada tribes, including three women, died and nine villagers, a quack, and two others were arrested in the case.

Some 15 persons were still bed-ridden even after they were discharged from the hospitals.

They were not able to attend the works, said the villagers.