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Hooch Tragedy Kills 20 in MP’s Morena, CM Orders Removal of District Collector, SP

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan ordered removal of the district collector and Superintendent of Police of Morena district on Wednesday in connection to hooch tragedy which has resulted in the death of 20 people.

The suspended officials were identified as District Excise Officer, Javed Ahmed, Sub Divisional Officer of Police, Baghchini TI Avinash Rathore and two other beat officers in charges also have been suspended. While collector Anurag Verma and Superintendent of Police Anurag Sojatiya have been removed from their positions.

As of Tuesday night, 16 people had died after consuming illicit liquor while four others who were recuperating in hospital succumbed early morning on Wednesday. As many as 20 people are still critical and are undergoing treatment in a hospital.

Three of four who died today were identified as Vikas Argal (22), Kalicharan Kushwah (55), and Pawan Rathore (50).

Chouhan issued these orders at a high-level meeting organised in Bhopal to take stock of the situation following the hooch tragedy. The affected villages were- Manpura, Chhera, Neerpur, Bilaiya ka Pura and others, where the residents are in deep shock as in every second house one member has died in the tragedy or someone is undergoing treatment in the hospital.

Meanwhile, the police officials have lodged a case against those who were involved in producing illicit liquor and a manhunt was launched to nab the accused- Girraj, Pappu, Raju, Kalla, Matadin, Mukesh and others. A total of seven locals involved in the illegal liquor trade have been booked on charges of culpable homicide.

District administration’s slackness could be gauged from the fact that the liquor mafia has established over 20 manufacturing units and not even one had packing machines installed in them.

Due to the burgeoning liquor mafia, the excise department had been suffering losses of around Rs 30 lakh per day. Rural areas are seeing liquor manufacturing units being installed in households and even the liquor is supplied to nearby districts.

Locals claimed that these units have been functioning under political patronage, claiming that the staffers from the government distillery in Morena are also hand in glove with the liquor mafia. However, the situation is similar in the neighbouring Bhind district.

However, a crackdown has been initiated in Morena and nearby districts to unearth the illicit liquor trade. The incident happened days after 14 people had died in Ujjain after consuming a locally made intoxicant.

Bhind and Morena are nestled in the heart of Chambal ravines and are known for all sorts of unlawful activities ranging from illegal mining of sand and stones, illicit liquor and others.

Five years ago, these affected villages had pledged a liquor ban- Visangpura-Manpura mahapanchayat had passed a resolution to ban liquor in the area. Ironically, close to ten persons who died in the tragedy hail from Manipura village.

Source: News18