72 dead after consuming illicit liquor in India

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About 3,000 people linked with the illicit trade have been arrested in Uttar Pradesh in connection with the incident, according to newspaper reports.

The majority of the deaths were reported from the village of Balpur in Uttarakhand.

Officials confirmed the death toll has mounted to 72, however, local media reports suggested the tragedy has claimed over 100 lives.

Eight more deaths were reported in another tragedy blamed on tainted liquor in Kushinagar, also in Uttar Pradesh. Authorities launched a crackdown and suspended police and officials.

In Rorkee of Haridwar district in Uttarakhand the death toll has risen to 28 and many others are hospitalized. They have seized hundreds of liters of so-called country-made liquor.

Eighteen people were hospitalised and undergoing treatment.

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The local governments in both the states have announced a compensation of 2,806 USA dollars to the next of kin of each of those who died in the tragedy and 700 US dollars for those taken ill.

Producers often mix liquor with cheap chemicals to increase potency and profit.

Deaths from illegally-produced alcohol, known locally as "hooch" or "country liquor", are a regular occurrence in India, where many can not afford branded spirits. Deaths as a result of consuming such alcohol are in the headlines regularly.

According to health officials almost two dozen people were still undergoing treatment inside hospital in these two districts and doctors fear the number of deaths could rise.

Family members of a hooch victim mourn at Chowdhurypara under Shantipur police station of Nadia district where seven people died and twelve fell ill after consuming spurious liquor locally called cholai.

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