Over 50 people are undergoing de-addiction from alcoholism in 530 camps currently being run in 16 districts of Karnataka run by the Shri Kshethra Dharmasthala Rural Development Project (SKDRDP), T. Sampath Kumar, Director, SKDRDP, told The Hindu.

He was speaking on the sidelines of an event held in the city by SKDRDP and Information Department on the de-addiction programmes of SKDRDP’s Jana Jagruti Vedike (public awareness forum), on the occasion of Mahatma Gandhi's birthday.

He said that the camps have had a success rate of 80 per cent and that the organisation had helped 32,000 people in State overcome addiction to liquor in the past 20 years.

In Kodagu, there were 100 to 150 people at each camp.

The Jana Jagruti Vedike, which was till now functioning only in Dakshina Kannada district, was being extended to cover the entire State.

The first camp outside the 16 districts would be held in Bangalore on October 12, he said.

N. Yogish Bhat, MLA, Mangalore City South and Deputy Speaker, Legislative Assembly, after inaugurating the event, said that de-addiction gave a new life to the person and his family. But it could not be achieved easily. It involved counselling and much effort by the person and his family to overcome the habit.

U.T. Khader, MLA, Mangalore, said that a package should be provided to overcome the addiction to liquor. The aim was to get the de-addicted person a job so that he might live with dignity. Enabling him thus would ensure that he did not relapse into the drinking habit. The suggestion could be discussed and taken forward, he said.

‘A cause for concern’

Special Correspondent in Udupi adds:

Udupi Zilla Panchayat Chief Executive Officer S.A. Prabhakar Sharma said on Tuesday that it was distressing that alcoholism was more prevalent in rural areas.

He was speaking at a convention for persons who had given up alcohol, and an awareness campaign against alcoholism, organised by the Sri Kshetra Dharmasthala Rural Development Project and Jana Jagruti Vedike, here.

Mr. Sharma said that it was a matter of equal concern that more youth were turning to alcohol in urban areas and society had a responsibility to make people aware of the consequences of alcoholism. There was a dichotomy on the matters concerning alcohol in the country. The Government had formed “the Temperance Board” to propagate the ills of alcoholism but the very same Government had increased targets for the Excise Department, he said.

According to Excise Department officials, Udupi district led the pack in the field of education and healthcare but it was also the leader in liquor sales. “We are living in the midst of these contradictions. It is necessary to have a social revolution to encourage people to give up alcohol,” Mr. Sharma said.

In her welcome address, Project Officer of SKDRDP Dayasheela said that the SKDRDP had held 36 de-addiction camps in Udupi taluk.