October 4, 2016
While state governments and courts are dithering on the implementation of prohibition, social activist and founder of the Narmada Bachao Andolan movement Medha Patkar said that there has risen a strong anti-liquor wave in the country recently.
Patkar, who is on a 10-day ‘Nasha Mukt Bharat Yatra’ (Addiction-free India) that started in Kanyakumari on Sunday, was in Coimbatore yesterday, to attend a meeting organised by the National Alliance of People’s Movements, as a part of the tour.
“Women have entered the protest in large numbers all over the country because they are the ultimate sufferers. The youth have also started joining hands after the martyrdom of activists like P Sasi Perumal,” she told reporters here.
Commending Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s imposition of prohibition, Patkar said that a similarly strong act needs to be followed by other states. “Gujarat implemented a comparatively weaker prohibition act and was a bad example to others. It is high time that other states, like Tamil Nadu and Kerala, follow Bihar’s policy and start giving good education and food to people, rather than selling liquor,” said the activist.
Asked about the Cauvery waters issue, she said that the mismanagement of the river water has caused the turmoil.
Patkar pointed out that states should first try and preserve water at the river basin level, rather than constructing dams over it. “Dams demolish and displace people. People of both the states are suffering and only a truce can end the problem, not a tribunal,” she opined.
Commenting on the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant, against which people have been protesting, Patkar said that people have not understood the effects of radiation from such plants, which could affect generations to come and cause permanent problems.
“There are many other sources from which power can be taken from. We shall never try to derive power at the cost to the environment,” she said, adding that the Centre has not been heeding the voices of the people.
Patkar’s tour of 15 states and important cities, including Selam, Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad, Nagpur, Mumbai, Ranchi and Raipur, will end in a large public gathering in Bhopal on October 12.