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`Eyeing Revenue, Govt Helping Alcoholism'
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THE revenue that the state government generates through the sale of alcohol alone has gone up by 15 times over the past 15 years. Today, the state government gets Rs 5,000 crore annually through tax on liquor sales
SOCIAL activists allege that the state government is actually trying to encourage alcoholism in society instead of controlling the sale of alochol to earn revenue.
Activists working in the field of deaddictionhave demanded a phase–wise programme to be taken up by the government in order to annihilate alcoholism and other forms of addictions that are on the uspswing.
Dr Abhay Bang, director of the Society for Education, Action and Research in Community Health (SEARCH), who visited the Loksatta–Indian Expres office on Monday, said, "Despite the knowledge about its ill–effects on health, the sale and consumption of alcohol in India is rising by the day.
Which is why, putting a stepwise ban on the consumption of alcohol has become imperative. In order to bring addiction under control, some countries have taken steps like reducing the number of liquor shops, reducing the time of sales, increasing the amount of excise duty and taking a strict action against those found driving vehicles after liquor consumption.
" Criticising the government policy, Bang said, "For getting foodgrains, government provides ration cards. However, liquor can be purchased by anyone, anywhere. One can purchase twelve bottles of liquor on a single permit. But sadly, there is no proper implementation of the liquor sale on permit."
Dr Narendra Dabholkar, a prominent rationalist and founder of an addiction treatment institute named `Parivartan', said "The problems of alcoholism, tobacco chewing and smoking are turning grave. The revenue that the state government generates through the sale of alcohol alone has gone up by 15 times over the past 15 years. Today, the state government gets Rs 5,000 crore annually through the liquor sale, while the consumption is to the tune of Rs 17,000 crore.
And instead of controlling the sale of liquor, the state government has proposed to produce liquor through foodgrain." Dr Dabholkar added "The most sensitive age during which people can turn to alcohol of any addiction is 18 to 25 years. If one does not taste alcohol between these years, the chances of that person not turning to alcohol in the later years are very high."
"Complete extermination of sale of illegal liquor and phasewise control over the sale of liquor is the agenda that the government should undertake," he said.