At least 102 people died after drinking illegally distilled liquor in India, where alcohol tainted with industrial chemicals every year kills poor villagers unable to afford licensed brands.
A further 75 people were being treated for alcohol poisoning in hospitals near the West Bengal village of Sangrampur, M. Das, a police spokesman in the state capital Kolkata, said in an interview. The death toll is expected to rise as many people are a serious condition. Four people have been arrested for selling the poisonous brew, he said.
In 2009, at least 107 people died in western Gujarat state and another 30 in northern Uttar Pradesh after drinking toxic alcohol, according to a report by the British Broadcasting Corp. today.
South 24 Parganas, the West Bengal district where the alcohol was consumed, is about a three-hour drive from the state capital Kolkata. The local government has announced compensation of 200,000 rupees ($3,692) for each victim.
The deaths come a week after India’s deadliest fire in seven years killed 91 people at a hospital in Kolkata.