Even as the state government has officially announced to end the menace of belt shops (unauthorized liquor outlets), a little village in Chittoor district has already achieved it.
Good bye to problems
The belt shops exist in hundreds in the State’s rural landscape, causing health hazards, domestic problems and also social chaos.
The State’s announcement is not only widely hailed as a positive move, but also as a tacit admission that such a system has been in existence for long. What is heartening is the fact that Adavinathunikunta, a small village in Punganur mandal of Chittoor district, has already achieved the rare distinction of getting its belt shops closed some time ago.
The belt shop owners have diversified to other respectable professions.
The cool drink outlets, a camouflage for selling liquor bottles and ancillary products, have been replaced by shops selling lemon juice and tender coconuts. “The villagers, especially the womenfolk, are happy that their economic condition has improved and a peaceful atmosphere prevails in the village,” says K. Venkata Reddy, president of ‘Parivarthana Foundation’ that plays a key role in making the difference.
Having received a shot in the arm in the form of the government’s decision, the foundation is keen not only on enlightening the public on the ill-effects of drinking, but also trying hard to wean away those running the belt shops in the adjoining villages and mandals.
Even as the government moved to end the menace of belt shops, Adavinathunikunta, a village in Punganur mandal has already achieved it