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"Opposition wants to politicise this in Assembly": TN Minister Regupathy over Kallakurichi hooch tragedy

Chennai: Tamil Nadu minister S Regupathy said on Saturday that the opposition, headed by AIADMK leader Edappadi Palaniswami, in the Assembly, wants to politicise the Kallakurichi hooch tragedy, which has claimed 53 lives so far.
He said that Retd Judge Justice Gokuldas has been nominated as a one-man commission and he has now inquired into the matter.
"52-55 people have died in the incident. It is unexpected but our Chief Minister has immediately ordered a CB-CID inquiry as well as a judicial inquiry. Retd Judge Justice Gokuldas has been nominated as a one-man commission and he has now inquired into the matter. But the Opposition headed by Edappadi Palaniswami, in the Assembly, wants to politicise this and they raised slogans during Question Hour. But they can raise questions only during Zero Hour," Regupathy said.
The DMK leader said that CM MK Stalin has requested the Opposition to come to the Assembly and say whatever they want, but the Opposition has refused to come to the Assembly.
"They gheraoed Speaker of the Assembly. But the Speaker himself requested the Opposition Leader that he can say anything he wants to say now. But he doesn't want to say anything inside the Assembly but outside the Assembly. Our CM has also requested the Opposition to come to the Assembly and say whatever they want, but the Opposition has refused to come to the Assembly, they have not said anything inside the Assembly," he said.
"They met the press for publicity. They made false allegations against the government but it is not correct. The Government is taking proper steps," Regupathy added.
Meanwhile, the AIADMK legislators staged a walkout from the Tamil Nadu Assembly in protest over the Kallakurichi hooch tragedy.
Ruckus erupted in the House after AIADMK leaders demanded a discussion on the Kallakurichi illicit liquor tragedy.
AIADMK leaders donned black clothes and raised slogans against the state government in the Assembly. The opposition also demanded the resignation of CM Stalin.
The death toll in the Kallakurichi Hooch tragedy rose from 50 to 53, officials said on Saturday.
Kallakurichi District Collector MS Prasanth said that out of the total 193 patients who consumed illicit liquor, 140 are currently safe.
"193 people who have consumed illicit liquor have come to the hospital. Out of which 193, 140 are currently safe, while a few of them are on ventilators. Right now, 53 people have passed away," he said.
The leaders staged a walkout after Speaker M Appavu rejected AIADMK leaders' demand to adjourn the Question Hour to discuss the issue. On Friday, AIADMK MLAs were evicted from the House after they staged a sit-in protest.
Meanwhile, AIADMK leader Edappadi Palaniswami lashed out at the state government on Saturday and said that, according to the information they have received, 55 people have died in the hooch tragedy in Kallakurichi.
"Speaker Appavu refused to give time to speak about the Kallakurichi Hooch tragedy. According to the information we got 183 were affected by the Kallakurichi hooch tragedy. The government is so lethargic. 55 died according to the information we got. 183 was affected. If the Government acts in a rush many lives could have been saved," he said.
"The Minister says people died because they came for treatment with delay. But who is responsible for that? The government is the reason. The first day, the District Collector refused the illicit liquor in Kallakurichi," the AIADMK leader added.
The Tamil Nadu government had ordered a judicial inquiry into the tragedy. The inquiry will be led by retired Madras High Court judge Justice B Gokuldas. Justice Gokuldas will submit a report within three months.
Tamil Nadu CM MK Stalin announced Rs 10 lakh each for the family of the deceased and Rs 50,000 each for the persons under treatment. A one-man commission, comprising former judge Justice B Gokuldas, announced to probe the matter, and submit a report within 3 months.
The CB-CID of Tamil Nadu police, which was handed over charge of investigating the tragedy, commenced a probe under SP Shantharam.
Chief Minister MK Stalin has announced an ex-gratia payment of Rs 10 lakh to the kin of each of the deceased victims, with those under treatment to receive Rs 50,000 each.
Victims are undergoing treatment at the Kallakurichi Government Medical College and Hospital and in hospitals in Salem, Villupuram, and Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research (Jipmer) in Puducherry.

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