Wednesday, Dec 08, 2021
Outlook.com
Fate Accompli

The Toxic Brew In Tea Country

Assam’s worst hooch tragedy orphans 45 children

The Toxic Brew In Tea Country
Stoic Visage | Photograph by Surajit Sharma
The Toxic Brew In Tea Country
outlookindia.com
2019-04-12T11:35:18+05:30

Leaning against the mud-caked bamboo wall of her house, Dipa Telenga looks out towards the rows of neatly trimmed tea bushes in the distance. She holds a framed photograph in the crook of her arm—a photo of her parents who died in one of Assam’s worst hooch tragedies on February 24. Dipa is just 16 but has aged since the tragedy; she is now also the mother-figure for her brother Sachin, 11. She stays with her relatives in Halmira Tea Estate in Gola­ghat district, trying to find the meaning of life and death in a community historically oppressed and exploited for centuries.

But it’s not only Dipa or Sachin’s story. At least 45 children, aged between a few months to 16 years, were orphaned when 158 people, all of them tea garden workers, died after consuming spurious liquor in several tea gardens in Golaghat and adjacent Jorhat district. An Adivasi student leader says the death toll would be more than 200 as many deaths were not officially recorded by family members. Most of the orphans have been taken away by their relatives or put up in different orphanages and child care homes, including Dipa’s brother. At least 94 people died in Halmira, the worst hit.

Outlook Newsletters

Read More from Outlook

Helicopter Carrying CDS Bipin Rawat Crashes Near Tamil Nadu's Coonoor, 4 Dead

Helicopter Carrying CDS Bipin Rawat Crashes Near Tamil Nadu's Coonoor, 4 Dead

The helicopter was reportedly flying from Sulur Airbase to Wellington with 14 personnel including senior officials on board.

Biography | Army General Chief Bipin Rawat- A Saga Of Valour And Excellence

Biography | Army General Chief Bipin Rawat- A Saga Of Valour And Excellence

General Bipin Laxman Singh Rawat holds the status of a four star general of the Indian Army. He took over as the 27th Chief of Army Staff (COAS) on December 17, 2016 succeeding General Dalbir Singh Suhag.

Ashes, 1st Test: Cummins Steals The Show On Rain-Affected Day 1

Ashes, 1st Test: Cummins Steals The Show On Rain-Affected Day 1

Pat Cummins made his captaincy debut in style with a fifer at The Gabba, helping Australia dismiss England for 147. Then rain arrived.

IAF’s Mi-17V5: All About The Helicopter That Crashed Carrying India First CDS Bipin Rawat

IAF’s Mi-17V5: All About The Helicopter That Crashed Carrying India First CDS Bipin Rawat

IAF’s Mi-17V5 helicopter is one of the most advanced military aircraft equipped with advanced technology to help it to traverse adverse climatic and war situations.