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Hooch tragedy rocks U'khand Assembly for second day

Press Trust of India  |  Dehradun 

The tragedy rocked the Assembly for a second day on Tuesday, with the staging a walkout over the government's "insensitivity" even as the announced that an in-house panel will be set up to probe the incident.

Over 70 people were killed in and neighbouring after consuming spurious liquor. At least 36 people died in alone.

Opposition leaders rushed into the Well of the House and raised anti-slogans. They also sought resignations of and over the issue.

The Opposition also alleged that Rawat and his cabinet colleagues did not deem it important to visit the families of the victims, who were mostly Scheduled Caste labourers.

of Opposition said the ex gratia of Rs 2 lakh announced by the state for kin of the deceased was not enough.

"In some cases, poor women have lost both their husbands and sons and don't know how to keep their hearths burning. They are in need of immediate financial help. If the ex gratia of Rs 2 lakh reaches them after the viscera report, wouldn't it defeat the purpose?" she asked.

Senior MLA Govind Singh Kunjwal criticised the state for suspending only "small fries" in the excise department in the name of action.

Echoing similar sentiments, Ranikhet MLA said senior excise officers had been allowed to go scot-free.

Mahra said a tragedy of this proportion could not have taken place without the involvement of the bigwigs and demanded Pant's resignation on moral grounds.

Defending the government, Pant said as many as 17 excise department and police officials were suspended immediately after the incident.

"Showcause notices were also served to officials who could have been responsible for the incident and if their replies are not satisfactory, stern action will be taken against them as well. No one will be spared, I assure the House," the said.

Collective effort is needed to uproot the social evil of alcoholism, Pant added.

He said a special investigation team (SIT), led by general, Garhwal, had also been constituted to get to the root of the deaths and to suggest measures to prevent a repeat of such incidents in future.

However, Pant's reply failed to assuage the agitated members, who had returned to their seats to hear him. They again rushed into the Well, reiterating the demand for the minister's resignation.

intervened to announce that an in-house committee will be constituted to look into the incident and suggest long term measures to end illicit liquor trade. He said the members of the panel will be announced later.

Alleging that the government had done nothing to offer immediate help to the victims' families, the Congress staged a walkout.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, February 12 2019. 17:00 IST
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