The incident took place in Kurichedu mandal, where there has been a temporary lockdown in the area, due to increased coronavirus cases.

A few policemen and locals were seen standing near a police zeep in a village in AndhraBy arrangement
Coronavirus Coronavirus Friday, July 31, 2020 - 17:11

At least nine people died in Andhra Pradesh’s Kurichedu mandal in Prakasam district after they consumed sanitisers, reportedly due to the non-availability of alcohol. There has been a lockdown in the area, owing to an increase in the number of COVID-19 cases, resulting in the closure of alcohol shops. Three people had died on Thursday, while six others succumbed on Friday. 

In videos of the incident that are circulating on social, empty bottles of sanitisers can be seen spread out on the floor. The visuals also show some people, seemingly intoxicated, consuming a blue colour liquid, supposedly diluted sanitiser, in a plastic glass.

According to the locals, some of them have been consuming sanitisers by mixing them with the soft drinks. They said that such activities were going on owing to the lockdown and increased prices of the liquor. 

Following the incident, several of them have complained of severe stomach pain and collapsed, following which they were rushed to a local hospital. 

According to media reports, the deceased were identified as Ramanayya (65), Raja Reddy (65), Guntaka Rami Reddy (60), Augustine (47), Charles (45), Babu (40), Bogem Thirupathaiah (37) and Anugonda Srinu (25).

According to the reports, police have seized the sanitisers that were available in surrounding shops and have taken them for examination. Meanwhile, opposition parties have blamed the Jagan Mohan Reddy government for the deaths and stated that earlier, about seven people died after consuming spirits instead of alcohol, unable to afford liquor, which was highly-priced.

“Now, people are drinking sanitisers and it is resulting in deaths. The government should take responsibility for the deaths and give Rs 50 lakhs as ex-gratia to the bereaved families,” said TDP leader Kala Venkatrao.

Jana Sena Party (JSP) chief and actor-politician Pawan Kalyan said that the government should conduct a complete investigation on the deaths in Kurichedu. 

“Of the people who died, there are several poor families. The government should help them financially. People who are addicted to alcohol are now pursuing other means such as gudumba, sanitisers and others. All factors should be considered and a proper decision should be taken,” he said in a statement.

As reported earlier, liquor prices in Andhra Pradesh were hiked by 75% when stores were reopened after the lockdown. Even before the coronavirus pandemic, the ruling YSRCP implemented a plan for phased prohibition, as it was one of Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy’s poll promises

Read: Andhra to continue English medium of instruction, despite NEP 2020: Education Minister

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