2011 Sangrampur methanol tragedy

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A methanol-tainted batch of illegal alcohol killed 143 people in India in December 2011, affecting mainly manual workers in the eastern province of Sangrampur.[1]

The incident[edit]

Victims around Sangrampur district, West Bengal started becoming sick on December 13th, 2011, after drinking a home-brewed alcoholic beverage known as chepti. The drinks contained methanol, a highly toxic chemical which, when ingested, can lead to blindness or death. On December 14th, victims admitted to hospitals complained about stomach pain, diarrhea and breathing problems. Within 48 hours, the death toll rose to 143, and many more were in critical condition. Most who died were manual laborers and others of low socio-economic class, who bought the liquor at illegal bars called thekas.[1][2] Later the death number rose to 156 people.[3]

Official response[edit]

The government of Sangrampur paid $4,000 to the family of each victim, and arrested seven people for distributing the liquor. 10 illegal liquor shops in Diamond Harbor, one of the affected communities, were shut down by the police as well.[1]


  1. ^ a b c Magnier, Mark (15 December 2011). "Bootleg liquor laced with methanol kills 143 people in India". Toronto: Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 16 May 2012. 
  2. ^ "Tainted bootleg booze kills 143 in India". CBS News. December 15, 2011. Retrieved 24 February 2013. 
  3. ^ "West Bengal hooch deaths rise to 156". Mid-day.com. 2011-12-16. Retrieved 2012-08-10.