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The opening of 'ahatas' will be detrimental to society

Wednesday - November 6, 2019 10:44 am , Category : WTN SPECIAL
Representative Image
Representative Image

 
WTN- While the Kamal Nath government is seeking to mandate the setting up of 'ahatas (bars)' with every liquor shop, it is a stark departure from the previous Shivraj Singh government which was mulling shutting down liquor shops, even as no new licenses were being issued. The logic of opening ahatas or sitting areas along with liquor shops is to keep drinkers seated inside so that they don’t drink on the road. The truth is, however, all those liquor shops which have ahatas have the largest attendance of drinkers, who not only spill out on the roads but also often create nuisance.

Every liquor shop with an ahata also sees a huge number of vehicles which pose parking problems and choke the main roads around. The government is certainly not in sync with the ground realities or it simply wants to ignore them for the benefit of certain sections. Liquor is a social vice because it is an intoxicating drink that causes addiction. This is a basic which doesn’t need much elucidation.  From childhood we are taught to keep away from these addictions like smoking, gambling or drinking because they cause injury to mental and physical health, disturb social and familial harmony and disturb one’s finances.

Yet, our society is obsessively addicted to liquor. Our cities are strewn with bubbling liquor shops crowded with rowdy bootleggers from morning till night. Anti-social elements flock these watering holes in hordes and having their fill, go out on the streets to create ruckus or commit crimes. Drivers get sozzled here and take to the wheels which invite accidents, putting in peril pedestrians and other road users.

ven after officially the shutters are down, unofficially the booze business continues till late into the night, thereby preparing the right breeding ground for late night crimes. The police hardly do much because they know the liquor shop owners have political links. Over the years there have been immense protests by womenfolk in Maharashtra and Bihar, Odisha and Madhya Pradesh. Bihar has in fact put in place a complete ban which has, not surprisingly, brought down crime rate and the number of road accidents. In some districts of Maharashtra too women have forced the closure of liquor shops by making the government impose ban.

In Gujarat the crime rate in much lower than other states. Being a dry state has certainly got its role in this. Even road accidents are much lesser in Gujarat as compared to Maharashtra or Tamil Nadu. Governments are reluctant to ban liquor simply because it fetches money. But then, in a welfare state, the government also has the responsibility to see society is safe and the rule of law prevails. Booze in public places certainly doesn’t go hand in hand with safety, because liquor, depending on the quantity taken, numbs the senses and makes people aggressive or lead them to do insensible/indecent acts which normally he won’t do in society.

There are evidences of such mishaps and nasty brawls and murders after drinking sprees. The situation of a liquor shop vitiates the atmosphere around and creates bad influence in children and families staying about. Given these negative effects, the governments must think of banning liquor, let alone abetting it by opening ahatas. In India liquor is less a status symbol or an official decorum, and more an obsession which leads to animalistic addiction. It is difficult to allow free run in India because people don’t drink in a responsible way, within limits. The future of the nation has to be kept in mind. Lakhs of people die every year in the country due to the ill effects of liquor on liver and heart health, including heart failures and cancers. Thousands among them are promising young boys.

Easy access and availability is a key factor in the spread and penetration of the habit. The health burden on the nation accruing due to this, offsets the financial gains the government makes by selling liquor. The cascading effects of liquor are satisfyingly ample to merit a ban, at least on its public sale and usage so that the rampant abuse of the ‘privilege’ is stopped. - Window To News