Tamil Nadu Hooch Menace Makes a Comeback; 14 Dead in Marakkanam; Kin of Deceased Blame Police

May 17, 2023 - 16:50
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“They do it themselves… the bottle is white in colour and they, definitely, add something to it. That’s the reason why my relative passed away,” said Karuppiaha, a resident of Marakkanam, a seaside village between Chennai and Pondicherry where 14 people died in a recent hooch tragedy.

Tamil Nadu’s battle with spurious liquor manufacturing is a much storied one, with successive governments attempting to purge the state of the menace. Hooch tragedies have been few and far between in recent time. The death of 22 people across two districts – Chengalpet and Villupuram districts – has raised fears of a return of the menace.

Daily wage labourers fall for the massive price discount the illegal liquor arrives with, in comparison to what is retailed at the state-run shops. For example, a 200 ml packet costs around Rs 30, almost a fifth of the price of the standard fare of hard liquor purchased at the authorised shops. On some occasions, the illegal liquor vendors announce offers (buy two, get one free), to spur sales.

Chengalpet’s Perungaranai village is home to more than 20 families. The residents live in small huts and are mostly wage labourers.

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