Community Corespondent Krupakar Chahande reports from Chichkheda village in Chandrapur district, Maharashtra where residents have been trying to ban liquor as they find it is eating away at their lives. Read on to see how you can help.
Despite their campaigning liquor is still being sold in every village, destroying lives. Jijabai Jambude is one of those affected. She lost her husband to alcoholism after he committed suicide by hanging himself. The impact on her and her children has been devastating. Her story is one which is heard all over India's villages, towns and cities. Jijabai would like for the 20 year old liquor shop in Chichkheda to be banned from the village.
The liquor shop supplies alcohol to over 35-40 other villages which amounts to over 1,000 people who come to drink in the village. With the numbers going up many women report abuse at home; their drunks husbands come back to thrash them. Others say that even young boys have started drinking despite the fact that legal drinking age in Maharashtra is 25 years, the highest in India. (http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/mumbai/Maharashtras-legal-drinking-age-is-highest-in-world/articleshow/8970980.cms?referral=PM)
The struggle against alcohol in Chichkheda reflects a growing sentiment across Maharashtra. In fact Chandrapur was the 3rd district in Maharashtra to go dry. 'A call to ban alcohol was issued in late 2010 following which a committee headed by the guardian minister submitted to the state that, in the interest of the health of the people of Chandrapur, liquor must be immediately banned.'
However it has been over a year in discussions without any concrete conclusions on the matter. The excise department has also given its nod and moved the proposal to the cabinet. However, the department had also stated that the state would stand to lose Rs 150 crore of revenue annually if this ban goes into effect," said a senior state officer. Meanwhile, the liquor traders of Chandrapur are protesting against any ban, saying their voices haven't been heard and facts have been contorted. (http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/mumbai/Chandrapur-3rd-district-in-Maharashtra-to-go-dry/articleshow/18084013.cms)
In 2012 though a post-card campaign led by tribal women from Maharashtra's Chandrapur district 80,000 postcards were sent to Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan asking to make the district liquor-free. They also submitted petitions signed by over 100,000 women, 2,200 organisations and many village councils, who supported the prohibition. (http://www.deccanherald.com/content/283663/ban-alcohol-demand-maharashtras-chandrapur.html)
The women have been at the forefront of the campaign to ban liquor; they are the worst affected. Raveena Bankar explains how her husband spends all their money on drink, so that they don't have any rice, chilli or even salt in the house. She doesn't know how to feed the family.
The people want the liquor shop to be removed from the village at any cost. They do not care to where it is moved but do not want it in their village. Krupakar Chahande is certain that if the District Collector's office in Chandrapur pays attention to this problem then the number of drinkers will considerably reduce. You can help Chichkheda become alcohol free
Call to Action:
Please call Dr Deepak Mhaisenkar, the District Collector on 071722555300 and ask him to look into the matter immediately.
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