Fresh hooch case in Krishna, one loses vision, five critical. indiatimes.com. Jan. 03, 2012. Even before the tribals of Poratanagar could recover from the hooch tragedy which claimed 17 lives, 14 people from another tribal hamlet in Mylavaram mandal fell seriously ill on Monday after consuming spurious liquor on New Year's day.
One person lost his vision due to high doses of methanol in the illicit liquor, while five others developed serious lung infections. "We are monitoring their health in the ICU. Their condition is critical," chief of a private hospital Ramanamurthy told TOI. He said the condition of others is not worrisome. All the victims hail from Vedurubidem, 12 km from Mylavaram town, who consumed the hooch on Sunday.
They were rushed to the private hospital in Vijayawada in the morning after they started vomiting and complained of chest pain, severe headache and body pains. The latest incident sent shock waves among the district officials, as 24 others were undergoing treatment at different hospitals in Vijayawada and Mylavaram ever since the hooch tragedy broke out on December 31.
Krishna district collector S A M Rizvi said the 14 people from Vedurubidem came to the community health centre for a check-up and the doctors referred six of them to Vijayawada government hospital. When their condition did not improve, they were taken to the private hospital. Five others were kept under observation at the health centre. Ironically, the Banjara community of several Lambada hamlets spread over Mylavaram and Reddigudem mandals did not give up the locally brewed (illicitly distilled) liquor despite fully knowing that a good number of tribals were killed after consuming the liquor on December 31. "The locals of Vedurubidem enjoyed the New Year by consuming the liquor throughout the day. With all the officials from excise and prohibition department away in Vijayawada and Mylavaram, the local brewers virtually had a field day in selling huge stocks," said M Satyanarayana, a local merchant in the village.
But what saved them was that the authorities were quick in shifting them to a private hospital when their condition turned critical. "Whereas the victims of Kanimerla and Poratanagar thandas could not survive as they were taken to the governments hospitals in Vijayawada and Mylavaram," a senior official said. While Mylavaram is 43 km from Vijayawada, all the affected thandas are located within 10-15 km from Mylavaram.
Joint collector Gourav Uppal said they have formed special teams to crack the whip on the sale of hooch in the tribal hamlets. He said they would conduct awareness programmes in the tribal hamlets on the ill effects of the hooch on their lives. Excise minister M Venkata Ramana said the government would bear the expenses for the treatment of those who were undergoing treatment in private hospitals.
Meanwhile, expressing deep anguish over the liquor deaths, assembly speaker Nadendla Manohar said there was a need for better coordination among various government departments to fight the illicit liquor menace. Manohar said in Machilipatnam that he would discuss the issue of setting up a joint taskforce comprising excise, revenue, police and tribal welfare departments to handle the large-scale consumption of illicit liquor in tribal areas with chief minister Kiran Kumar Reddy.