Brew toll mounts to four

Rayagada: With three more persons dying, the death toll in the consumption of a local brew in Rayagada district has climbed to four.

The victims, tribals from Gandamali and Badakhilapadar villages, had consumed the local brew `salap rasa` on Saturday, police said. They had shown symptoms of dizziness, loose motion and vomiting after consuming the brew, hospital sources said.

While Patnana Lamta (26) of Gandamani village died on way to hospital on Sunday, three others of Badakhilapadar identified as Lacha Piribaka (30), Ramchandra Achari (40) and Purnachandra Kondagiri (40) breathed their last while being shifted to the MKCG Medical College Hospital at Berhampur on Sunday night, the police said. Six other persons were being treated at the district headquarter hospital, hospital sources said.

DIG police Soumendra Priyadarshi, who visited the spot along with district collector and district superintendent of police today, said the victims had got the brew from nearby Ghatnali village.

They spoke to Sadananda Hikakka and Rajendra Kondagiri of Badakhilapadar village, who had also consumed the brew, and came to know that the brew had probably turned toxic after they drank it.

"It`s a general practice among tribals to drink the available brew. However, when they eat heavily or remain on empty stomach after drinking the brew, they often fall ill", the DIG said.
"Salap Rasa" is a type of brew collected by tribals in clay pots atop a tree. They usually mix some herbs or tablets made of herbs on the pot before the juice is collected to make it strong.

Asked whether the victims had consumed country liquor, the DIG said, "Liquor is not available in the area as women are against its sale. They had organised a "Yagna" last month and taken a vow not to allow sale of country liquor." However, a lot would be known after post-mortem and inquiry into the incident, Priyadarshi said.

Meanwhile, police had registered case under excise law against unknown persons. "Probe is on and we will nab the culprits soon", the police said.