The Integrated Tribal Development Project (ITDP) Officer of Attappady has urged the government to appointment a committee to look into the illicit liquor menace and alcohol addiction among the tribal people, which is affecting the survival of the community.
The National Nutrition Institute of Hyderabad, under the Indian Council of Medical Research, in its report on the death of tribal infants at Attappady has urged the ITDP to initiate steps to control alcohol addiction among the tribal population.
“The habit of alcohol consumption is very common among the tribes and the major part of their earnings is spent on this purpose. Regular alcohol consumption may lead to liver damage (cirrhosis of liver), jaundice and death,” a team from the National Nutrition Institute headed by its director A. Laxmiah said in its report.
“Few studies also revealed that these tribes are also suffering from pulmonary tuberculosis, sickle cell anaemia and malaria. Steps may be taken to control alcohol addiction among the tribal population.
For this, the ITDP has to initiate an integrated approach by achieving convergence in utilising the services of the ICDS, Health, Social Welfare, Education and Revenue departments and the services of NGOs,” it said.
A medical team led by B. Ekbal had also warned of a possible liquor tragedy at Attappady if steps were not taken to control the widespread use of liquor and drugs by the tribal people.
ITDP project officer P.V. Radhakrishnan in his report to the Director of the Tribal Welfare Department on September 19 said “though liquor had been banned 18 years ago at Attappady, it is freely available here.
Illicit manufacturing and trade is rampant. In fact, the ban only helped the illicit liquor trade to flourish in the absence of any check on it.”
The ITDP wanted a public debate on the issue so that measures could be initiated to curb the menace.
It suggested a 10-point programme, which included creating awareness among the tribal people, preventing the manufacture and sale of illicit liquor, and stopping its flow from Tamil Nadu. The letter also urged the government to study the experience of States where prohibition was in place to guide the course of action to control the menace of liquor and drugs at Attappady.