Wednesday, October 12, 2011

MAIL | BOX We Have an Alcoholic Friendly Administration



We Have an Alcoholic Friendly Administration

The article 'Lets make our islands Liquor free' by Yasmeen Shabnam under the column 'Your Space' was thought provoking. This is the voice of majority of the islanders.
Whenever organisations and individuals object to issuing of bar licences, the oft-repeated reply of the Registering authority is that Administration has set certain guidelines for issuing the bar licences and if anyone fulfills those guidelines, they cannot be denied the right to run a bar. The administration which is totally out of sync with the aspirations of the people have created norms which will flourish this trade, fill the pockets of few and ruin the lives of many.  While framing policies, the people at the helm of affairs turn a blind eye to the Article 47 of Directive principles to States, enshrined in the constitution.  The article states that the State shall endeavour to bring about prohibition of the consumption except for medicinal purpose of intoxicating drinks and of drugs which are injurious to health.
Also, the Registering authority has some advice for those objecting against the bars. Instead of objecting, he insists to create awareness among the masses about the bad effects of liquor consumption. On the one hand, we are encouraging and facilitating liquor hubs and on the other hand, we spend our resources for counseling and rehabilitation of the habitual drunkards. Seminars and symposiums conducted on 'Anti-alcoholism' day has become a charade, an eye-wash.  Educating an alcoholic is appropriately summed up by Oscar Wilde 'When I read about the evils of drinking, I gave up.....reading.'     The ill-informed and lop-sided policy of making easy accessibility of  liquor and then trying to provide medical assistance to those affected by it need to be re-looked.
The Corporation set up under the premise of integrated and all-round development of the islands has become synonymous with boozing. The company set up on 28th June 1988, aims to improve supply of important raw materials, essential commodities, consumables with view to stabilize the market and provide these goods to people at reasonable prices. The essential commodity which is most pro-actively supplied by ANIIDCO is well-known. Among the eleven units (Source: of ANIIDCO, the visible arm seems to be the IMFL unit. In an effort to make its presence felt throughout the archipelago, the company plans to open new IMFL retail  outlets at Bambooflat and Havelock.
Despite all this, there is hope. The people of Ferrar Gunj Tehsil has been fighting tooth and nail to resist renewal of existing bars and proposals of new ones. A mass movement in 2008, initiated by Mahila mondals, supported by local NGOs, PRIs and commoners successfully weeded out the illicit locally produced brew. A similar approach can only put brakes to the sinister designs of an alcoholic-friendly administrative set-up.
K P Mohd Younus
Wimberly Gunj

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