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22 May 2019, Edition - 1408, Wednesday

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Coimbatore

De-addiction, campaign alone can wean people away from the bottle

Vignesh Vijayakumar

The recent announcement in the Assembly about rise in TASMAC profits goes against the recent claims of the government that its efforts towards total prohibition through the closure of liquor outlets.

According to the statement of Electricity Minister P Thangamani, the Govenrment received Rs 26,995.25 crore from TASMAC this year (2016 – 2017). There is an increase of Rs.1,1497.97 crore compared to the previous year. Though many TASMAC outlets were closed based on the State Government’s order and the recent Supreme Court order, it does not seem to deter addicts from giving up the habit.

A John, Secretary of Kovai Mavatta TASMAC Uzhiyir Sangam, said sales had gone up after the recent closedowns. ”Revenue of outlets where there was just an income of Rs 2 lakh earlier has gone up four times,” he said. The Government should go for awareness campaigns and have de-addiction programmes instead of closing down shops, he added. It should also stop selling 180 ml (quarter) bottles and instead have higher limits like 375 ml and 750 ml. “The high pricing could help in people stay away from buying alcohol,” John added.

Vishnu Charan, MD of Naveenam Counselling and Holistic Development Centre said that what is needed is awareness and not prohibition. “Prohibition is not going to help. It will not deter people from drinking. Moreover, aggressive de-addiction campaigns have to be taken up.” He recounted that years ago there was an aggressive campaign against smoking which has yielded results.

According to reports, in Bihar, Gujarat and Kerala where similar steps were taken, alcohol consumption has gone up.

Vishnu Charan pointed to rise in use of cannabis in the wake of prohibition. In Kerala Excise Commissioner Rishi Raj Singh admitted that the use of cannabis had gone up four-fold after the closure of bars.

Balasubramaniam NP, Deputy Commissioner (Excise), Coimbatore said that no campaigns have been palnned regarding this. “We are yet to receive any funds on this regard”, he said.

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