KHAMMAM: The failure of the official machinery to check the menace of bootlegging came in for sharp criticism from the women elected representative including a good number of sarpanches, MPTC members, ZPTC members and activists from self help group at a workshop on the role of women in strengthening the Panchayatraj institutions here on Friday. They voiced grave concern over the spurt in the number of deaths caused by the liquor related disorders. So far as the deaths of such nature were concerned mandals such as Yerrupalem and Madhira were topping in the State, they complained.
They pointed out that Khammam was one of the major beneficiary of the widow pensions with some 28,000 women receiving it ever since the arrack was prohibited in the State. They alleged that the illicitly distilled liquor were taking a heavy toll in the life in the rural pockets, thanks to the spurious ingredients being used for its preparation. They said that most of the young and able bodied were hospital bound. The deaths caused by the liquor related diseases resulting in huge insurance claims as well. The claims were being paid promptly under the Janasree Bheema Yojana.
But should this phenomenon being viewed as a boon or a bane, questioned a majority of the women representatives. Only a few of the women representatives could make it to the dais to voice their protest against the menace of bootlegging. But a majority of the women representatives failed to get the opportunity to speak on the problem that was being experienced almost in every habitation. They grilled the Zilla parishad chairperson, Gonela Vijaya Lakshmi and Mallu Bhatti Vikramarka, MLC on this count.
The Nelakondapalli-II MPTC member, S. Lakshmi called for a serious effort to end the menace. The Cheruvvu Madaram MPTC member, G. Subhadra sought the cooperation of the administration to put an end to the problem that had a telling effect on the health of earning heads of the poor families. Sharing their concern, Mr. Bhatti Vikaramarka said that issue was a serious one and it needs serious attention. The death of such a large number of people because of the liquor related diseases was already taken note of even by the authorities concerned.
A resolution was adopted unanimously by all the women representatives seeking steps to end the menace of illicit distillation in the district. The Zilla Parishad chief executive officer, Samuel Anand Kumar and the District Panchayat officer, John Wesley were among those who attended.