Many of the mushrooming belt shops are being run by women, say speakers

The State government cannot play with the lives of people by pushing up the sale of liquor under the guise of generating revenue, speakers at a roundtable have opined.

Speakers from a cross section of society have condemned the government’s role in promoting a vice and termed it unethical.

They were participating in the roundtable on ‘Sale of liquor and its impact on coming elections’ organised jointly by Andhra University Dr. Durgabai Deshmukh Centre for Women’s Studies and Chaitanya Sravanti here on Tuesday.

Most political parties were represented at the discussion, a report of which would be sent to the Election Commission by the organisers.

The government’s stand that revenues from tax on liquor sales were essential for financing welfare schemes was more of an excuse as there were examples of State governments mobilising revenues without having to depend on liquor sales, Principal of AU College of Arts, Science, and Commerce D. Prabhakara Rao said, presiding over the inaugural session. “An individual, who is under the influence of liquor, loses a sense of time and health, and it affects his/ her finances,” AU Vice-Chancellor G.S.N. Raju, who was the chief guest, said.

“Liquor impairs the sense of judgment of the individual, and it is unfortunate that though people are aware of its ill-effects, the consumption of liquor has not come down,” he added.

Former Union Secretary and president of the Forum for Better Visakha E.A.S. Sarma asked the voters to draft a people’s manifesto and elect only such candidates who were willing to abide by it.

“Only when women come out in large numbers can a prohibition movement be taken up,” he said.

Ironically, many of the mushrooming belt shops were being run by women and, in some instances, these women had lost their husbands to liquor addiction, some of the participants pointed out.

Had the State government implemented prohibition that was introduced 20 years ago, the new generation of children would not have picked up the habit, CPI leader and former corporator Stalin said.

President of Chaitanya Sravanti Shirin Rehman, director of the Centre for Women’s Studies B. Ratna Kumari, and representatives of political parties and civil society organisations were present.

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