At least 32 people have died after drinking toxic bootleg alcohol in northern India, while dozens more have fallen ill.

Police officer Arvibnd Sen said on Saturday that the victims, mostly labourers, bought pouches of tainted alcohol on Thursday from a shop in Adampur village in Uttar Pradesh state.

They started falling sick immediately after drinking the liquor and were taken to local hospitals.

Sen said that 32 people had died by Friday night.

He said another 50 people were being treated in hospitals, and some of them have gone blind because of the toxic brew.

Police arrested the shopkeeper, whose son also died after drinking the toxic liquor, Sen said.

He said eight state government officials and four police officers have been suspended as authorities investigate the deaths and possible negligence of duty by the officials in allowing the liquor to be sold.

Adampur is in Azamgarh district, about 300km southeast of Lucknow, the capital of Uttar Pradesh.

Deaths from drinking illegally brewed alcohol are common in India because the poor cannot afford licenced liquor.

Illicit liquor is often spiked with chemicals such as pesticides to increase potency. 

Source: Agencies