JORHAT, March 10 - The hooch tragedy that struck Golaghat and Jorhat districts almost a fortnight back and had claimed over 150 lives and led to hundreds falling sick, has resulted in nine persons becoming critically visually impaired.
Among the nine which includes a woman, are now undergoing treatment at the Jorhat Medical College and Hospital. Four among them have almost lost their eyesight.
The Head of the Department of Opthamology at Jorhat Medical College and Hospital, Professor Tapan Gogoi told The Assam Tribune that nine persons have been severely affected by the toxic ingredient methanol, which is suspected to have been present in the spurious brew consumed by the aforementioned patients.
Dr Gogoi added that after being administered treatment during the past two weeks, five patients have responded positively by slightly recovering their visual capability.
However, they would remain visually impaired as their eyesight was very weak since the beginning, the Professor claimed.
He said as per norms fixed by the Central Government for declaring a person suffering from visual impairment, the person's visual capacity has to be 40 percent or above and the same was determined by certain examinations.
Dr Gogoi said that in case of the four persons, they had almost lost vision as they could no longer see light.
When asked whether there was any possibility of them recovering their eyesight partially, Dr Gogoi said the chances were dim.
The Professor said that the patients were under critical care at the JMCH and their conditions were evaluated on a daily basis.
Dr Gogoi said though the patients were likely to be released soon, but they will have to undergo medication for some more time and have to undergo medical check-up from time to time.
Meanwhile, JMCH Deputy Superintendent and Assistant Professor in the Department of Surgery Dr Nilotpal Bhattacharjee informed this newspaper that the number of people undergoing treatment after the hooch tragedy is presently 15.
Dr Bhattacharjee said altogether 341 persons affected from hooch consumption in Golaghat and Jorhat districts were admitted to the JMCH. Among them, 55 died in the JMCH.
In addition to the above-mentioned figures, 24 people from both the districts were found brought dead, he added.