Guwahati, Apr 7: Poisonous mushrooms claimed another four lives in Assam today with the toll reaching 20, even as the state government struggled to contain it.
The latest four deaths were reported from Tinsukia, with another five people reported to have taken ill after consuming poisonous mushrooms.
At least 16 people had died after consuming the poisonous mushrooms since the last week in Golaghat, Jorhat and Sivsagar districts, while several others were still lodged in hospitals.
State Health Minister Dr Himanta Biswa Sharma yesterday said a detailed report had been sought from Golaghat district administration, which reported the maximum number of deaths, to determine the cause of such widespread mushroom poisoning.
He ruled out poverty as the reason behind the people being compelled to consume wild mushrooms, pointing that vegetables were in abundance during this season.
Top agriculture department officials rushed to the affected areas to collect and examine samples, with state Agriculture Minister Pramila Rani Brahma instructing Assam Agricultural University Vice-Chancellor S S Vagel to seriously look into the incident which has spiralled into a major crisis.