Supply Reduction

The problem of addiction, especially alcohol, finds its roots at various places and sadly in the government policy too. While reducing the availability of alcohol is of utmost importance, government’s approach towards it is totally disappointing. In Maharashtra, as of now, there is no restriction on liquor production and distribution of liquor can be done with permit. In any village or town, once the legal stock of liquor is exhausted, illegal stock comes to the surface and there is no effective control over the illegal sale. While government intends to curb the alcohol, it seems to be reluctant to give away the thousands of corers of Rupees gained through liquor sale. The dichotomy is disturbing and it creates a major hurdle for institutions like Parivartan in effective execution of de-addiction campaigns.

In a major decision, Maharashtra government passed the law on 21st September 2004 that women in any village or town can shut down the liquor shops through voting. The law states that 25% of the women from any village or from a ward of the municipal corporation can give an application to the district collector and demand the closure of liquor shops. Within a month’s time, with seven days’ notice, there would be a secret voting. If 50% of the women vote against liquor, the liquor shops in that village/ward will be shut down. In Satara district, there have been many such cases where women have successfully closed the liquor shops. Parivartan has been working closely with women groups in Satara and Kolhapur districts to leverage the law and bring about the change.

At village level, Gram Suraksha Dal (Village Security Committee) is a group of young volunteers actively involved in various welfare measures by the government. At present, the committee does not have right to intervene in the illegal liquor sale. Parivartan has been constantly following up with the governmental agencies to empower the committee and give them the right to intervene so that illegal sale can be curbed.

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