Nuapada (Odisha): In mid-September this yr (2021), a gaggle of girls from Dharambandha village, located within the Sadar block of Odisha’s Nuapada district, went for a shower within the village canal. Close by, a store was serving and promoting liquor to some males. Quickly, drunk, these males proceeded to molest the ladies. When the ladies protested, the drunkards began abusing them.
Though no official criticism was registered with the police, the village’s youth determined to eradicate this downside from its roots. They began an alcohol de-addiction marketing campaign in Dharambandha.
“I used to be current throughout the (molestation) incident that happened close to the canal. I had been protesting towards the sale of liquor there. Nevertheless, nobody agreed. However after the incident, a gathering was held by which all the ladies of the village participated, and the choice to ban liquor was taken,” stated villager Padma Dewangan.
In a number of Indian states, the demand for liquor prohibition has been raised sometimes. Full liquor prohibition is in power in Gujarat, Bihar, Mizoram and Nagaland. Nevertheless, it is no secret that alcohol consumption continues to plague many locations in these states by means of the black market or illicit liquor manufacturing. Andhra Pradesh and Haryana have been the states that utterly prohibit alcohol within the mid-90s however it was restored in 1997 and 1998, respectively. In Chhattisgarh, the Congress authorities’s promise to ban liquor stays unfulfilled even after two and a half years.
In Odisha, following the Could 1992 occasion in Cuttack by which greater than 200 individuals died and 600 individuals have been hospitalised after consuming spurious liquor, the state imposed a ban on alcohol in 1994. Nevertheless, the Congress authorities that got here to energy in 1995 lifted the prohibition on the grounds that it was inflicting big losses in income.
A research by AIIMS Delhi said that “Almost one in 5 alcohol customers suffers from dependence and desires pressing remedy. Among the many 5.7 crore individuals thought of alcohol addicts in India, the quantity of people that want pressing remedy is pegged to be 3.2 crores.” The consumption of alcohol has additionally been straight linked to crimes towards ladies.
Confronting this actuality, the youth of Dharambandha village determined to take issues into their very own palms. They initiated an alcohol de-addiction marketing campaign with the cooperation of the village Sarpanch. Because of this, on September 21, the sarpanch known as the gram sabha assembly, the place the choice to ban liquor within the village was handed with mutual consensus.
Plan for the ban
Situated 20 km from district headquarters, Dharambandha has a inhabitants of about 6,000. Right here, promoting, shopping for and making any form of liquor is now prohibited. Nobody can open a liquor store or a furnace to brew liquor. If somebody is caught promoting liquor, they are going to be fined Rs 51,000 and compelled to parade across the village carrying a garland of footwear and slippers. The particular person caught shopping for alcohol will probably be fined Rs 5,100.
An motion committee consisting of 25 males and 25 ladies from Dharambandha has been fashioned to implement the prohibition. 5 senior members supervise them. The committee’s job is to conduct raids on locations promoting liquor primarily based on the knowledge acquired. A day after the prohibition, the motion committee had raided a spot after receiving details about persevering with liquor gross sales. Nevertheless, no alcohol was discovered.
An energetic member of the alcohol de-addiction marketing campaign, Ankit Jain instructed 101Reporters that villagers additionally wrote a letter to Dharambandha Police Station, the SP Workplace and the Excise Division informing them in regards to the marketing campaign. “We bought assurance of cooperation from them,” Jain added.
No extra ‘dangerous water’
The ban on alcohol in Dharambandha was not simply welcome but additionally appeared mandatory. In accordance with Ramesh Sahu of the village, “Folks’s well being deteriorated as a result of extreme consumption. A lot of the deaths within the village have been as a result of sharab.” (Sharab is an Arabic phrase derived from the mixture of Shar that means ‘dangerous’ and Aab that means ‘water’)
Liquor was being offered within the streets, and the villagers had began depleting their financial savings to purchase it. Some villagers recommended that circumstances of atrocities on ladies and home violence had additionally elevated. Even the village youngsters began consuming alcohol with the cash they bought for goodies or ice cream.
Sadanand Majhi, the president of the de-addiction marketing campaign, recommended that crime has diminished within the village after the ban. Earlier, there was once eight to 10 incidents of abuse and assault within the village. Nevertheless, no such circumstances have come to mild lately. “Now that liquor will not be being offered; the main focus is on growth and cleanliness of the village. Youngsters and youth are concentrating on research and sports activities,” he instructed 101Reporters.
The previous Sarpanch of Dharambandha, Kusum Sahu resonated with Majhi’s assertion. She stated, “Earlier, it was tough for ladies to go away the home. However ever for the reason that ban, the ladies have been feeling protected. Not solely Dharmabandha, however the complete nation must also be alcohol-free.”
The slogan of prohibition will get its power from ladies. As we speak, all the ladies of Dharambandha are unitedly concerned within the drug de-addiction marketing campaign. Nevertheless, whereas ladies of the village are blissful, liquor merchants and wine lovers are dissatisfied with this determination.
Harinder Singh, supervisor of one of many liquor outlets within the village, had opposed the ban, however this had no impact. He stated, “With the mutual consent of the villagers, the sale of liquor is prohibited within the village. At current, liquor will not be being offered, and everyone seems to be following the foundations. Let’s have a look at what occurs subsequent.”
Put up the ban, there have been no circumstances of promoting liquor in Dharmabandha. “The marketing campaign goes properly to this point. Nevertheless, if we do not get continued cooperation, then we’re ready to go on to the Excise SP and Collector,” stated Omprakash Kalar, the village sarpanch. This has additionally created worry among the many liquor merchants of the encircling areas.
Nuapada MLA Rajendra Dholakia instructed 101Reporters, “The individuals of Dharambandha have taken a historic determination. This step is welcome. I hope their marketing campaign is profitable.”