HomeWorldDozens dead after drinking smuggled alcohol in western India

Dozens dead after drinking smuggled alcohol in western India

All had illegally consumed illegal alcohol in the Botad and Ahmedabad districts of Gujarat state, where the manufacture, sale and consumption of alcohol is illegal.

“Around 10 people have been arrested and approximately 475 liters of the liquid have been recovered,” said Ashish Bhatia, director general of Gujarat Police.

Bhatia said one of the arrested men had stolen methanol from a factory in Gujarat and sold it to a cousin, who then sold it to others who diluted the chemical with water and sold it as liquor. Methanol can make people feel drunk, but even a very small amount can be toxic.

Deaths from drinking bootleg alcohol, known colloquially as “homemade liquor,” are not uncommon in India.

While Gujarat and some other Indian states criminalize the sale and consumption of alcohol, it is legal in most of the country’s 1.3 billion people, 22.5% of whom live below the poverty line. according to the World Bank.

But even in states where drinking is legal, bootleg alcohol remains popular, especially in poorer rural areas.

Moonshine is typically brewed in villages before being smuggled into cities, where it can be sold for about 10 cents a glass, about a third of the price of legally brewed liquor.
According to secure test, Homemade alcohol can turn deadly when other liquids like isopropyl alcohol or methanol are added to the mix.
Methanol poisoning can cause nausea, vomiting, and heart or respiratory failure, according to to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It can cause confusion, dizziness, drowsiness, headaches and an inability to coordinate muscle movements, the CDC said.

“Byproducts of methanol metabolism cause a buildup of acid in the blood (metabolic acidosis), blindness, and death,” according to the CDC.

This week’s deaths are the latest tragedy in India’s long battle to control the illicit trade.

In February 2019, at least 154 people died and more than 200 were hospitalized after drinking contaminated alcohol in the northeastern state of Assam.
Earlier that month, 80 people died in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand states after drinking illegal alcohol, prompting regional police to crack down on smugglers.

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