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Toxic liquor kills 131 in eastern India

[ 2011-12-16 15:41]     字号 [] [] []  
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A batch of home-brewed liquor thought to have been laced with the highly toxic chemical methanol has killed 131 people in eastern India, an official said on Thursday.

Hospitals near the impoverished district 30 kilometers south of West Bengal state capital Kolkata have been overwhelmed by victims, either unconscious or complaining of abdominal pains and burning in their chests.

Many of them were laborers and rickshaw drivers too poor to afford branded alcohol who stopped for a drink at illegal bars or bought from bootleggers after work on Tuesday.

"The death toll has reached 131," district magistrate Narayan Swarup Nigam said, adding that police had arrested 10 people during an investigation into the tragedy in the South 24-Parganas district.

More than 100 other victims were still in hospital, including a 12-year-old boy who apparently mistook the liquor for water, hospital authorities said.

Bootleg liquor is widely consumed across India and is available in the affected area near the border with Bangladesh for as little as six rupees (11 US cents) for a half-liter, a local resident said.

Methanol - a type of industrial-strength alcohol used as anti-freeze or fuel - has been found in the remains of 20 of the victims examined by doctors, leading to suspicion that the chemical is to blame.

It is sometimes added to "moonshine" in small quantities to increase the alcohol content, but it can cause blindness, liver damage and be fatal.


1. How many people have died?

2. What is the West Bengal state capital?

3. How much is bootleg liquor sold for half-liter?


1. 131

2. Kolkata

3. six rupees

(中国日报网英语点津 Rosy 编辑)

Toxic liquor kills 131 in eastern India

About the broadcaster:

Toxic liquor kills 131 in eastern India

Lee Hannon is Chief Editor at China Daily with 15-years experience in print and broadcast journalism. Born in England, Lee has traveled extensively around the world as a journalist including four years as a senior editor in Los Angeles. He now lives in Beijing and is happy to move to China and join the China Daily team.