Demonstrations, rallies, observance of fast, formation of human chains held in Coimbatore and Tirupur in this regard
The Gandhi Jayanthi day witnessed a slew of agitations in Coimbatore and Tirupur demanding that the sale of Indian Made Foreign Liquor be abolished in the State.
Members of the Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK) on Tuesday staged a demonstration in front of the Tamil Nadu Hotel in Gandhipuram demanding total prohibition. It was part of a State-wide protest the party had planned on Gandhiji Jayanti.
Around 250 activists participated in the protest in Coimbatore.
The party’s district secretary V. Eswaran said that MDMK was for total prohibition. The party leader Vaiko would lead a march of party cadre from Tirunelveli to Madurai, touching nearly 400 villages, to campaign for total prohibition. This would be between December 12 and 25.
Prior to this, the party would stage an agitation on November 6.
Mr. Eswaran said that the income from sale of liquor had increased from Rs. 2,828 crore in 2003 to Rs. 18,000 crore as of 2012. In the corresponding period, while the State's population had increased by 15 per cent, the alcohol consumption had gone up by a whopping 800 per cent. And the State’s income had increased by around 20 per cent. He said that the age of people taking liquor had come down from 19 about a decade ago to 13 now.
If this continued, the future of hundreds of thousands of youth and that of the State and nation would be seriously jeopardised. Alcohol consumption would seriously impact the physical and psychological growth of youth, he said and added that studies had shown that following the increase in sales of liquor, there had been an increase in incidents of domestic violence and crime against women.
Citing Gujarat, he said that the State fared better than Tamil Nadu, though it had total prohibition. The rate of growth of agriculture in Gujarat was 9.6 per cent while it was a little above 3 per cent in Tamil Nadu.
He appealed to the Government to take a decision in this regard keeping in mind the welfare of 1.86 crore Tamil families.
In Tirupur MDMK opted to observe a fast to press their demand for stopping the sale of liquor.
MDMK town secretary S. Sivabalan said consumption of liquor had been destroying many a youth and families and hence, its sale should be banned.
“A good chunk of family problems are the result of its male members consuming liquor and damaging the financial stability,” he added.
The Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) formed human chains in Tirupur city, Mangalam, and Dharapuram to highlight the demand.
SDPI sources said it was planned to lay siege to the Collectorate on October 17 asking the authorities concerned to close down all IMFL sales outlets.
In Coimbatore, more than 500 SDPI cadre staged a protest demanding total prohibition. The Coimbatore City police said that the party cadre formed a human chain from Gandhipuram to Cross Cut Road in support of the demand. The protesters included more than 120 women.
The Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI) members took out awareness rallies in Tirupur city and its outskirts on Tuesday to educate youth on the ill-effects of drugs, watching obscene video footages, and use of chewing products that contain tobacco.
DYFI district secretary R. Vadivel said the latest studies had indicated that drug abuse had been high in India and hence, there should be a greater awareness among the young population on its impact in society.
“We will be advocating for frequent counselling sessions at government hospitals, schools, and public places to tell people how they can stay away from the temptations to inhale narcotic drugs or liquor,” he added.
The DYFI called for gradual scaling down of liquor sales in the state.
The rallies covered thickly populated areas like Veerapandi, J.J. Nagar, and Murugampalayam.