What is hooch tragedy, which is happening in Bihar recently.

The toll of dead in Bihar’s Chhapra Hooch tragedy has soared to 50, succumbing after consuming spurious liquor in the Saran district. People have died and several others hospitalised in India’s Bihar state after drinking toxic alcohol, authorities and local media said.

The deaths happened mainly in two villages in the impoverished eastern state, where the sale and consumption of liquor were banned in 2016 after women’s groups campaigned against poor workers splurging their meagre incomes on drinking.

Such bans are in force in several Indian states, driving a thriving black market for cheap alcohol made in unregulated backstreet distilleries that kills hundreds of people every year.

Hooch is a commonly used term for poor quality alcohol, derived from Hoochinoo, a native Alaskan tribe that was known to produce very strong liquor. Unlike branded liquor which is produced in factories with sophisticated equipment and rigorous quality control, hooch is made in more crude settings without any quality checks.

All that matters is to produce alcohol that will intoxicate, and hooch surely does that. The only problem is that if prepared incorrectly, it can kill. Importantly, it is near impossible to tell whether hooch is safe to consume before actual consumption.

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