Amaravati: Telugu Desam Party (TDP) president and former chief minister N. Chandrababu Naidu on Monday called on the families of 18 people who died allegedly after consuming illicitly distilled liquor in West Godavari district in the last one week.
Naidu met the families of the victims in Jangareddygudem town and gathered details from them about the incident.
Accompanied by some senior TDP leaders, Naidu visited the houses of the victims and consoled their families.
Naidu travelled by road from his residence at Undavalli in Amaravati to Jangareddygudem. People welcomed the leader of the opposition at several places enroute.
The TDP leader called the deaths of 18 people as murders by the government. He demanded that the government own responsibility for the incident and announce ex-gratia for the families of the victims.
Naidu said though the affected families have come out with details of how they lost their near and dear ones due to the illicitly distilled liquor, the government is claiming that they died due to ill-health.
Families of the victims claimed that they died after consumption of spurious contrymade liquor. Within hours after consuming the liquor, the victims complained of giddiness, vomiting, stomach ache and diarrohea. The victims were aged between 35 and 65 years.
Officials of the Revenue, Police, Excise, Special Enforcement Bureau (SEB), Medical and Health departments conducted an inquiry into the cause of deaths.
According to officials, they died due to different reasons. They were suspected to be suffering from health problems like cardiac ailments and post-Covid complications.
TDP leaders alleged that ruling YSRCP leaders were carrying out illegal arrack and ganja selling activities. They expressed concern that cheap liquor was proving very harmful and taking a heavy toll on the health and lives of the people consuming it.
Meanwhile, minister for municipal administration Botsa Satyanarayana alleged that the opposition is trying to politicize the incident. He said the deaths in Jangareddygudem were not due to illicit liquor. He said such an incident would have led to a large number of deaths.
The minister slammed Naidu and other TDP leaders for making false propaganda on the issue. He, however, said the government is ready to make a statement in the Assembly on the issue.