Lok Satta

Wednesday, 04 February 2009 09:37

Liquor Control Movement

PDFPrintE-mail
Article Index
Liquor Control Movement
The Ball now is in People's Court: Dr. JP
Shedding blood to protest Liquor shop auctions
Letter to Governor
Letter to Excise Commissioner
The Ball now is in People's Court: Dr. JP
Novel protests against Liquor shop auctions
Panachayats banning liquor to Get Rs.1 lakh award
Demonstrations and sit-ins at Excise Department Golden age or era of stupor?
Women win battle against liquor shop
Lok Satta makes history by Effecting citizen arrest
Bottles broken in battle against belt shops
Lok satta volunteers to arrest belt shop owners
DR. J.P. condemns moves to promote liquor sales
Mahila Satta to rope in SHGs: Anti-Liquor Drive
Mahila Satta identifies belt shops and seeks their closure
Prakasam Women force belt shop's closure
All Pages

Governments over the years have approached the sale of liquor as a source of revenue. Hence, along with large number of licensed shops many illegal liquor outlets (Belt-Shops) have increased liquor consumption in the state. On an average there are 4-5 Belt shops in a village and many of them are located in low-income localities. Liquor outlets are being established in the vicinity of transport corridors (including National Highways), religious places, and schools. As a consequence, Government policies are encouraging many to become alcoholics, which is generating severe financial stress in many families. Over seven million families are experiencing the pernicious impact of liquor consumption in the state. Tens of thousands of women are suffering because as the men folk spend the family's scarce resources on liquor, and then subject them to domestic violence. All this warrants rigorous control of liquor in the state. Since its inception, Lok Satta Party has campaigned relentlessly to demand that the government implement rigorous controls on liquor. Some of them have been listed below.

 

Liquor as a source of revenue.

 


MEDIA RELEASE
(Hyderabad, 16/06/2008)

The Ball now is in People's Court: Dr. JP

 

Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan today called upon people to take the initiative and halt sale of liquor through unauthorized outlets since the Government has gone ahead with liquor shop auctions, contemptuously ignoring people's protests all over the State.

The bidders have quoted astronomical amounts to corner licenses anticipating huge sales in an election year. Excise officials too have encouraged the bidders because the Government construes liquor as an important source of revenue.

The dealers who have paid huge amounts as license fee will try to maximize their sales by opening as many unauthorized outlets - belt shops - as possible. A liquor dealer who quotes Rs.1 crore for a liquor shop has to pay Rs.30,000 a day as license fee. The dealer cannot survive in business unless s/he sells liquor worth about Rs.2 lakh a day. Naturally, the dealer promotes belt shops to maximize sales.

Dr. JP said that traditional political parties have aggravated the problem by cynically and unabashedly distributing liquor as an inducement to voters.

The Lok Satta, which has conducted field surveys all over the State, learnt to its shock that people, especially the youth, tasted liquor for the first time during elections when political parties distributed it during elections as an inducement and became addicts later.

Dr. JP appealed to all political parties to take a pledge against liquor distribution during elections, appreciating the havoc it is playing on the lives of millions of people. Despite repeated entreaties, Dr. JP recalled, no political party - not even the main Opposition party - has so far come forward to take such a pledge. Apparently, their promises ranging from closure of belt shops to imposition of Prohibition gradually are hollow.

The liquor auction policy of the Government once again underlined that people are treated as mere voting machines and not as human beings in flesh and blood. The amount the Government spends on welfare schemes ranging from provision of houses to rice supply at Rs.2 a kg is perhaps less than 50 percent of the money it makes on liquor sales. And the Government chooses to ignore the enormous cost people are paying in terms of their health and economy, the extreme violence the women undergo at the hands of their drunken men folk and the neglect and deprivation their children suffer.

Dr. JP demanded that the number of liquor shops be limited, public drinking prohibited, belt shops banned, illicit arrack and gudumba be stamped out and de-addiction centers opened. Panchayats and local communities should be empowered to search, seize and destroy unauthorized liquor and arrest culprits.

All over the state, about 10000 Lok Satta Party leaders and activists registered protest against liquor auctions in Hyderabad and all district headquarters. Lok Satta Party workers adopted non-violent and novel means of protest including Gandhigiri, silent processions, and constructive activities like managing traffic and blood donations. But a deaf government would not listen to reason, and a blind administration would not see the suffering of millions of people. The ball now is in People's Court to liberate the poor from the scourge of excessive liquor consumption.


MEDIA RELEASE
(Hyderabad, 14/06/2008)

Shedding blood to protest Liquor shop auctions

 

As part of its ongoing agitation against State Government's liquor auctions, Lok Satta Party leaders and volunteers will be donating blood tomorrow.

"We are donating blood for the needy while the Government is sucking poor people's blood by promoting liquor sales through belt shops in every nook and corner of the State", says party's Organizing Secretary B. Ramamohana Rao.

The Lok Satta Party has chosen the Gandhigiri mode to voice its protest against the Government's liquor policy, as it does not believe in any action that disrupts the routine life of people. Blood collected at the camp will be passed on to Gandhi and Osmania Government Hospitals.

The blood donation camp is being organized under the leadership of Dr. Leela Samrani, Medical Director, Public Health Council, Andhra Pradesh, at Community Hall, Venkata Ramana Colony, Khairatabad, from 10-00 a.m. onwards tomorrow.



Letter to Governor

Lok Satta Party leaders today night submitted the the following memorandum to the governor N.D Tiwari at Rajbhavan demanding curb of liquor consumption...

To
Shri ND Tiwari
Hon'ble Governor of Andhra Pradesh
Hyderabad


Your Excellency,

We are constrained to bring to your kind attention that the Andhra Pradesh Government continues to play havoc with the health and economy of millions of people by unabashedly pursuing liquor as a source of revenue. What is more shocking is that a Government which swears by the welfare of the common man and takes up schemes ranging from supply of rice at Rs.2 a kg to construction of houses for all is ruining them by facilitating supply of liquor at every nook and corner all over the State. The Government hopes to realize a revenue of Rs.15,000 crore by way of license fees, excise and sales tax from liquor sales this year even as it spends only a fraction of it on all welfare schemes.

According to a rough estimate, liquor, illicit arrack and gudumba have already ruined the lives of nearly seven million of families in Andhra Pradesh. Field visits by Lok Satta Party volunteers have revealed that there are many villages in Andhra Pradesh which are peopled mostly by widows as men folk have succumbed to addiction to liquor. Tens of thousands of women are leading miserable lives as the men folk spend their hard earnings to buy liquor and subject them to domestic violence.

Women in both rural and urban areas have taken to the streets demanding closure of unauthorized outlets, known as belt shops, in their localities since easy access to liquor has aggravated the problem of liquor addiction. The other cause, of course, is free distribution of liquor during elections by most political parties as part of vote bank politics.

The Lok Satta requests Your Excellency to intervene with the Government and ensure that steps are taken to restrict liquor consumption. We suggest that the following measures may be considered:

  • Restrict the number of licensed liquor shops to not more than 1000 in the entire State
  • Close down all liquor sops on highways, close to schools and places of worship, and wherever the local population, especially women, oppose the establishment or continuance of the shops.
  • Prohibit drinking in public and close liquor outlets along all highways
  • Ban unauthorized liquor outlets, and enforce the ban on illicit distillation and gudumba manufacture and entrust elected local bodies with its enforcement
  • Undertake a campaign to dissuade people from drinking and open de-addiction centers. Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely yours,
DVVS Varma                                                                             E .Nagamani
General Secretary - Lok Satta Party                                            President - Mahila Satta


 

Letter to Excise Commissioner

June 13, 2008
The Excise Commissioner
Government of Andhra Pradesh
Hyderabad


Dear Sir:

We are distressed to note that the Andhra Pradesh Government is going ahead with the auction of liquor shops, ignoring the year-long movement by women against the growing liquor consumption all over the State.

We would like to bring to your attention once again that nearly 7 million families have already been ruined by liquor, illicit arrack and gudumba consumption in Andhra Pradesh. Liquor consumption has been growing by leaps and bounds because of the proliferation of belt shops in every nook and corner of the State.

A bidder who bids for a shop paying a huge amount, will naturally try to promote sales by opening as many unauthorized outlets as possible. With liquor being easily accessible, more and more people have been falling victims of liquor consumption.

The Lok Satta demands that the following steps be taken to ensure that liquor does not play havoc with people's lives:

Restrict the number of licensed liquor shops to not more than 1000 in the entire State

Close down all liquor sops on highways, close to schools and places of worship, and wherever the local population, especially women, oppose the establishment or continuance of the shops.

Prohibit drinking in public and close liquor outlets alog all highways

Ban unauthorized liquor outlets, illicit distillation and gudumba manufacture and entrust elected local bodies with its enforcement

Undertake a campaign to dissuade people from drinking and open de-addiction centers.

Thanking you


 

MEDIA RELEASE
(Hyderabad, 16/06/2008)

The Ball now is in People's Court: Dr. JP

 

Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan today called upon people to take the initiative and halt sale of liquor through unauthorized outlets since the Government has gone ahead with liquor shop auctions, contemptuously ignoring people's protests all over the State.

The bidders have quoted astronomical amounts to corner licenses anticipating huge sales in an election year. Excise officials too have encouraged the bidders because the Government construes liquor as an important source of revenue.

The dealers who have paid huge amounts as license fee will try to maximize their sales by opening as many unauthorized outlets - belt shops - as possible. A liquor dealer who quotes Rs.1 crore for a liquor shop has to pay Rs.30,000 a day as license fee. The dealer cannot survive in business unless s/he sells liquor worth about Rs.2 lakh a day. Naturally, the dealer promotes belt shops to maximize sales.

Dr. JP said that traditional political parties have aggravated the problem by cynically and unabashedly distributing liquor as an inducement to voters.

The Lok Satta, which has conducted field surveys all over the State, learnt to its shock that people, especially the youth, tasted liquor for the first time during elections when political parties distributed it during elections as an inducement and became addicts later.

Dr. JP appealed to all political parties to take a pledge against liquor distribution during elections, appreciating the havoc it is playing on the lives of millions of people. Despite repeated entreaties, Dr. JP recalled, no political party - not even the main Opposition party - has so far come forward to take such a pledge. Apparently, their promises ranging from closure of belt shops to imposition of Prohibition gradually are hollow.

The liquor auction policy of the Government once again underlined that people are treated as mere voting machines and not as human beings in flesh and blood. The amount the Government spends on welfare schemes ranging from provision of houses to rice supply at Rs.2 a kg is perhaps less than 50 percent of the money it makes on liquor sales. And the Government chooses to ignore the enormous cost people are paying in terms of their health and economy, the extreme violence the women undergo at the hands of their drunken men folk and the neglect and deprivation their children suffer.

Dr. JP demanded that the number of liquor shops be limited, public drinking prohibited, belt shops banned, illicit arrack and gudumba be stamped out and de-addiction centers opened. Panchayats and local communities should be empowered to search, seize and destroy unauthorized liquor and arrest culprits.

All over the state, about 10000 Lok Satta Party leaders and activists registered protest against liquor auctions in Hyderabad and all district headquarters. Lok Satta Party workers adopted non-violent and novel means of protest including Gandhigiri, silent processions, and constructive activities like managing traffic and blood donations. But a deaf government would not listen to reason, and a blind administration would not see the suffering of millions of people. The ball now is in People's Court to liberate the poor from the scourge of excessive liquor consumption.


 

MEDIA RELEASE
(Hyderabad, 08/06/2008)

Novel protests against Liquor shop auctions

 

Beginning tomorrow, the Lok Satta Party is launching a weeklong agitation against liquor shop auctions all over the State. Instead of calling for a 'rasta roko' or a 'bandh', which inconveniences the general public, the Lok Satta Party is embracing novel forms of protest against the Government excise policy.

Party activists will offer roses to those buying and submitting tender forms at collectorates, sport placards with anti-liquor slogans and help police regulate traffic and offer 'satyagraha'.

Disclosing this in a statement, party Organizational Affairs Secretary Bandaru Ramamohana Rao said that the Congress Government claim to have fulfilled all its election-eve promises was hollow. It had reneged on its promise of restricting liquor consumption in stages. It merely continued the previous Telugu Desam Party Government policy of regarding liquor as a source of revenue.

Mr. Ramamohana Rao pointed out that allotment of liquor licenses to the highest bidders would result in further proliferation of belt shops in villages. A bidder who shells a huge amount to acquire the license will try to promote his sales by opening more and more unauthorized outlets in rural areas. Such "belt shops" have already ruined the lives of 70 lakh families in the State, he said.

The Government, Mr. Ramamohana Rao charged, planned to raise Rs.2000 crore by way of license fees and another Rs.12,000 crore by way of excise and sales tax. Going by its policy, the Government would not seem to rest until Andhra Pradesh is turned into a 'madyandhrapradesh'.


MEDIA RELEASE
(Hyderabad, 04/03/2008)
Panachayats banning liquor to Get Rs.1 lakh award

 

Four villages which have enforced total Prohibition will get Rs.1 lakh each within a fortnight from the Committee appointed by the Government to prevent liquor consumption.

Mr. Uppuluri Mallikarjuna Sarma, the Committee chairman, gave this asssurance to a delegation of the Lok Satta Party here today.

The delegation, which included Mrs. D. Saroja, Mrs. N. Saroja Devi, Mrs. K. Gita Murthy and Mrs. Ramadevi, presented copies of the resolutions passed by the panchayats banning liquor consumption in their village limits and requested Mr. Sarma to honour his promise of awarding Rs. one lakh to each of the panchayats which have already enforced Prohibition.

The villages are: Andriyal in Tadvai mandal of Nizamabad district, Appannapet and Abbireddigudem in Garidepalli mandal of Nalgonda district and Modinsabpalle in Shakarajupalli panchayat of Siddavatam mandal in Kadapa district.

The Lok Satta Party, which has launched a movement against liquor sales by unauthorized outlets since July 2007, has mobilized women against liquor consumption in these villages with official cooperation and got the resolutions adopted by the panchayats.


MEDIA RELEASE
(Hyderabad, 25/02/2008)

Demonstrations and sit-ins at Excise Department
Golden age or era of stupor?
Asks Mahila Satta

 

It is not milk and honey that is flowing in the streets of Andhra Pradesh in the "golden age" of Dr. Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy; it is simply Indian made foreign liquor and illicitly distilled country liquor, says Mahila Satta, the women's wing of the Lok Satta Party.

The Mahila Satta organized demonstrations and sit-ins at Excise Department offices all over the State today to protest against the Government policy of treating Excise as an "akshaya patra" for its revenue receipts. They courted arrest volunterily, taken to Abids police station and subsequently released.

Talking to the media, Mrs. D. Saroja, Mahila Satta state Secretary, said that successive Governments had already ruined the lives of 70 lakh families in the State by promoting unbridled liquor consumption through unauthorized outlets and turning a blind eye to illicit distillation of country liquor and 'gudumba'.

If the Government planned to get a revenue of Rs.11,000 crore by way of excise and sales tax, people would be spending Rs.25,000 crore on purchases of liquor. "People's expenditure on liquor far exceeds the amounts the Government spends on Rs.2 a kg rice supply, INDIRAMMA houses, pensions and three per cent interest schemes - all ostensibly meant to uplift the poor".

"The Government is indulging in sheer hypocrisy when it claims to work for the welfare of the poor through umpteen schemes even as it ruins their health and finances by encouraging liquor consumption by upping sales targets year after year. Are we in a golden age or in an era of stupor", Mrs. Saroja asked.

In response to the Mahila Satta's agitation against belt shops since July 2007, the Chief Minister had promised to shut them down and asked police and excise officials to extend their cooperation to women. Although the Mahila Satta had given details of belt shops district-wise, no action had been taken. The Chief Minister, however, had the audacity to declare once again the other day in the Legislative Council that there were no belt shops in the State.

"A Government that shuts its eyes to ground realities is bound to face people's wrath", Mrs. Saroja warned.

Mrs. Saroja added that the Mahila Satta would resist belt shop auctions when they take place in the next few months. Party Women leaders S. Manorama, N. Saroja Devi, D. Lashmi participated in the protest.


MEDIA RELEASE
(Hyderabad, 24/11/2007)
Women win battle against liquor shop

 

Led by a 63-year-old illiterate, the Dalit women of Pedagottipadu village in Prattipadu mandal of Guntur district have almost won their three-month-old battle against the liquor shop in the village with the State Excise Commissioner promising to get it shut down within a week.

Mrs. Jonnalagadda Jayabhagyam, a woman deserted by her husband 37 years ago, led the movement against liquor when her two grown up children too had hit the bottle and started squandering their hard-won earnings. She had no problem in mobilizing the village women, all of whom had been going through living hell. "We have no money to perform the weddings of our daughters, educate our children or at least feed our families. We could not even repay the loans taken from self-help groups because our men folk spent our and their earnings on liquor", recalled Mrs. Jayabhagyam at a media meet here today.

Some 800 odd women of the village submitted signed memoranda seeking liquor shop closure to the Sarpanch, Mandal Revenue Officer, Collector, Excise and police officials.

When their request fell on deaf ears, they launched hunger-strike for four days from October 2. With no response, they went on a 3-day 63-km 'pada yatra' under the leadership of Dr Jayaprakash Narayan, Lok Satta Party's National Coordinator, last month to the collectorate at Guntur. The Collector Md. Ali Raffath recommended the closure of the shop located amidst a school, a place of worship and the village bus stand.

As no action had been taken till today, a delegation of 15 women from the village called on Chief Minister Dr. Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy in Hyderabad today. They told the Chief Minister: "We don't need houses or pensions or loans if you simply shut the liquor shop and liberate us from domestic violence, financial and physical ruin of our families".

The Chief Minister, who gave a patient hearing, explained his difficulty in closing a licensed shop in the middle of the Excise year.

Dr. JP then took up the matter with the Excise Commissioner Hiralal Moria and explained how the shop was licensed in violation of all Excise rules. Mr. Hiralal Samaria assured Dr. JP that the shop would be closed in a week.

Disclosing this at the media meet, Dr. JP said he was sure that the Excise Department would keep its word. "If the Government does not respond to non-violent, democratic and constitutional movements, it would be sending a wrong signal that violence alone pays", Dr. JP added. Dr. JP complimented officials for responding positively to people's wishes.

The Lok Satta would not rest until it won the war against liquor which had already ruined 70 lakh families in the State, he added.

Dr. JP said that long before liquor shops are licensed in the coming excise year beginning July 1, people's wishes and panchayat clearance should be obtained. The Government should straightway desist from licensing shops in habitations populated predominantly by weaker sections and BPL families. DR. JP said that the Lok Satta would organize a secret ballot to ascertain public opinion, if the Government had any problem.

Mrs. Padma Rani, Convener, Guntur district Mahila Satta and Mr. Ilango, former President of Kuthambakkam panchayat near Chennai who is transforming villages, spoke.


MEDIA RELEASE
(Hyderabad, 06/10/2007)

Lok Satta makes history by Effecting citizen arrest

 

For the first time in independent India's history, the Lok Satta Party has invoked Section 43 of the Criminal Procedure Code and effected the arrest of a belt shop operator at Satukupadu village in Jarugumilli mandal of Prakasam district. Illegal sale uncertified liquor is a serious crime under various laws.

The section enables citizens to arrest persons committing non-bailable and cognizable offences and hand them over to local police or the magistrate.

The Mahila Satta, after a 45-day State-wide campaign against belt shops, had warned the Government that it would resort to direct action if the Government did not shut down the shops by October 2. The Lok Satta Party, which as a matter of philosophy does not believe in 'rasta rokos' and 'bandhs' as forms of protest since they inconvenience the public, decided to invoke for the first time in the country the Criminal Procedure Code section dealing with citizen arrests.

In a statement, Mrs. D. Lakshmi, State Mahila Satta convener, said that local women led by Dr. Radha Devi, district Mahila Satta coordinator and Mr. C. Venkata Reddy, district Lok Satta Secretary, seized 67 liquor bottles from belt shop operator Nadagatla Gopi, conducted a 'panchanama' and arrested him.

When the villagers took the arrested person to Jarugumilli police station, the police said were not concerned with the case and suggested that the arrested man be taken to the Singarayakonda excise station. They took him to the excise station, lodged a first information report and handed over the 'panchanama' report and liquor bottles.

According to the Lok Satta, there are more than one lakh unauthorized liquor outlets playing havoc with people in the rural areas of Andhra Pradesh. In response to a representation from the Mahila Satta on October 5, Chief Minister Dr. Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy conceded the existence of belt shops and advised the leaders to mobilize local women and get the shops closed since the Government alone could not do it. He had already instructed police and excise officials to cooperate with the women in their mission, he added.


MEDIA RELEASE
(Hyderabad,30/08/2007)
Bottles broken in battle against belt shops

 

Fifteen unauthorized liquor outlets, called belt shops, were shut down by Mahila Satta-led women in three villages of Prakasam district today.

The Mahila Satta, which has been leading a State-wide agitation against belt shops, today identified three shops in Kambalapadu village of Podili mandal, eight in Sidavaram of Konakanamitla mandal and three in Chintalapalem of Kanigiri mandal. Local village women seized the bottles in the outlets identified by the Mahila Satta and broke them.

Giving this information here today, Mrs. D. Lakshmi, State Mahila Satta Convener, said that belt shop dealers initially resisted closure but later agreed to put an end to illegal trade.

The campaign was led by Mrs. Radha Devi, Mrs. Ratna Kumari, Mrs. Paluri Lakshmi and Mr. Venkata Reddy. In Chintalapalem, a committee to restrict liquor consumption was formed. The Kanigiri Inspector of Police, to whom the Chintalapalem women had taken the seized bottles, lent a helping hand in breaking the bottles.


MEDIA RELEASE
(Hyderabad, 14/08/2007)

Lok satta volunteers to arrest belt shop owners

 

Lok Satta and Mahila Satta volunteers will "arrest" persons running unauthorized liquor outlets both in towns and villages if the shops are not shut down either by owners or the Government by October 2.

Disclosing this, Lok Satta's National Coordinator Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan (Dr. JP) said the Lok Satta would take recourse to Section 43 of the Code of Criminal Procedure as part of its proposed direct action against belt shops. The section says that any private person may arrest any person who in his or her presence commits a non-bailable and cognizable offence and produce him/her before a police officer or magistrate.

Dr. JP said the Lok Satta decided on this line of action in tune with its philosophy that whatever it did should be lawful and constitutional and there was no place for violence in democracy.

Dr. JP pointed out that there was no difference between the two main political parties in the State on the liquor policy. Both the Telugu Desam and the Congress viewed liquor as a source of revenue and had tried to boost liquor sales through incentives to staff and encouragement of unauthorized outlets. If the parties were sincere about the harmful effects of liquor, they should at least pledge not to use liquor as an inducement during elections.

Dr. JP recalled how the longevity in Russia had come down from 77 to 54 years because of addiction to liquor, and added that the day was not far off when longevity in Andhra Pradesh too would go down sharply. People in the State spent Rs.10000 crore to Rs.12000 crore on liquor consumption annually and thousands of people had already been orphaned with the sole breadwinners dying of liquor addiction.

Since "liquor has become a life and death question for lakhs of people", there is tremendous response to the Mahila Satta campaign against belt shops. Women in many villages have already shut down shops and are ready to plunge into direct action from October 2. Mr. B. Ramana Murthy, freedom fighter, flagged off the Mahila Satta campaign in Srikakulam today under the leadership of Mrs. D. Lakshmi.

Dr. JP announced the Lok Satta is launching a helpline to assist people in their fight against belt shops. People concerned about unauthorized liquor, country liquor and gudumba outlets can call 23232711 and lodge their complaint.

Dr. JP taunted the Government why it would not launch similar helpline in every district, if it was sincere. By constituting a so-called "Madya Vimochana Porata Committee", the Government was trying to hoodwink people. It seemed to have unbounded faith in people's credulity. If the Government was serious and honest, it could shut down belt shops within 24 hours.
for LOK SATTA PARTY


MEDIA RELEASE
(Hyderabad, 07/08/2007)
DR. J.P. condemns moves to promote liquor sales

 

Lok Satta Party National Coordinator Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan today took strong exception to the Excise Department move to transfer officials who exceeded liquor sale targets to places of their choice.

"The Government is treating the Excise Department as a cash cow totally oblivious to the havoc being wreaked by liquor", said Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan.

The Lok Satta leader pointed out that already 50 lakh poor families were on the verge of physical and financial ruin because of the breadwinner's addiction to liquor. "A sensible Government should have curbed liquor consumption by closing down liquor shops along highways and unlicensed belt shops in towns and villages, launching an awareness campaign and opening de-addiction centers".

Lok Satta and Mahila Satta activists all over the State are now engaged in passing on information about belt shops to the Chief Minister with the request that he order their closure. The Chief Minister had told the Assembly there were no belt shops in the State and they would be shut down if anybody passed on information about them.

Mrs. D. Lakshmi, Mahila Satta Convener says that women of Bandivaripalem in Santhamaguluru mandal of Prakasam district agitated against belt shops in the village and got them shut down. According to Dr. N. Radhadevi, Prakasam district Lok Satta Convener, the villagers had to resort to direct action since officials did not respond to their repeated representations.

In Prakasam district, Mahila Satta volunteers have identified 15 shops in 8 villages of Markapur mandal and 11 shops in Markapur town. In Chennur town of Adilabad district, 17 shops have been identified.

(Following is the representation of villagers of Peddakallagudem in Kondepi mandal by Lok Satta Party to the Prakasam Collector seeking closure )


MEDIA RELEASE
(Hyderabad,27/07/2007)
Mahila Satta to rope in SHGs: Anti-Liquor Drive

 

The Lok Satta Party and the Mahila Satta will be organizing round-table conferences of self-help groups and NGOs (non-government organizations) between August 9 and August 14 in all towns as part of its movement for restriction on liquor consumption.

This was announced by Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan, National Coordinator of the Lok Satta Party, here today. He was addressing a zonal conference of party representatives from Medak, Mahbubnagar and Nalgonda districts here today.

The round-table conferences are a prelude to the State-wide 'pada yatras' and regional conferences from August 15 to October 2. The Mahila Satta will be resorting to direct action against belt shops in at least four to five centres in every district on October 5.

The Mahila Satta has identified 168 belt shops in 42 villages of Warangal district, according to Mrs. D. Lakshmi, Convener, State Mahila Satta.

The zonal conference decided to observe August 15, the 60th anniversary of Independence, as the beginning a second struggle for genuine Independence.

It also decided to take up membership drive on a war-footing and ensure that the party is represented in every village. Similar zonal conferences will be held at Warangal, Ongole, Tirupati, Eluru and Vizianagaram in the next few days


MEDIA RELEASE
(Hyderabad,25/07/2007)

Mahila Satta identifies belt shops and seeks their closure

 

The Lok Satta Party today kicked off its campaign of identifying unauthorized liquor shops in villages and towns all over the State and writing to the Chief Minister to take steps to close them down.

In the letters being sent, women activists of the party drew pointed attention to the Chief Minister's claim in the Assembly that there were no belt shops in the State and if any one gave information about their existence the Government would shut them down.
The Mahila Satta has taken up the challenge thrown by the Chief Minister and started identifying unlicensed shops which sell liquor.

According to information received at the Lok Satta Party headquarters, the Mahila Lok Satta identified 11 unlicensed shops in Chanda Nagar area alone in Hyderabad city and 65 in four mandals of Chittoor district on the very day of its campaign.
Lok Satta Party National Coordinator Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan in a letter to the Chief Minister has sought immediate closure of belt shops, and licensed ones along highways, ban on open drinking at licensed shops and an end to illicit distillation of country liquor and 'gudumba'.In his June 22, 2007 letter, Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan pointed out that 50 lakh families in Andhra Pradesh were on the verge of ruin because of addiction to drinking. Easy accessibility to liquor is resulting in more and more taking to the bottle. The Lok Satta Party is committed to restricting liquor consumption.

for LOKSATTA PARTY

 


MEDIA RELEASE
(Hyderabad, 02/07/2007)

Prakasam Women force belt shop's closure

 

Gutsy women of Netivaripalem village in Kondapi mandal of Prakasam district have won their battle against liquor by getting four unlicensed liquor outlets in the village closed.
The four belt shops in the village, with a population of 3000, had been selling liquor worth Rs.16000 every day, amounting to more than Rs.55 lakh a year.
Giving this information, Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan, Lok Satta Party's National Coordinator, who visited the village on July 30, says in a statement that at least 600 people (20 per cent of the population) were addicted to liquor. The per capita annual expenditure of the addicts on liquor amounted to more than Rs.9000.
Members of the 60 women self-help groups in the village, under the leadership of Ms. Sujatha, Ramanamma and Nagamani, took up the successful campaign. Following the closure of shops, liquor vendors have turned itinerant, resorting to sales when self-help group leaders are away from the village. Now the Lok Satta Party's women wing 'Mahila Satta' has also joined the fight in the area.
Mahila Satta, which had questioned the Chief Minister's claim that there were no belt shops in the State, is now engaged in identifying unauthorized liquor outlets all over the State. Faxing the names of villages and of people running the unauthorized shops, Mahila Satta members in identical letters to the Chief Minister request him to shut them down straightway and fulfill his promise in the Assembly.
According to the Lok Satta, 50 lakh families in Andhra Pradesh are on the verge of ruin because of their breadwinners' addiction to liquor. Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan points out that in Anepudi village in Maripeda mandal of Warangal district, 120 people - all below 40 years - died of drinking in the last one year.

Mrs. D. Lakshmi, Mahila Satta Convener, says that there is no village in Prakasam district which does not have a belt shop. Each belt shop's daily turnover ranged from Rs.1000 to Rs.6000. Phone booths, pan and cool drink shops and grocery stores have all metamorphosed into belt shops. She has released to the media a long list of villages with belt shops and the names of people operating them. This is only the first installment since Mahila Satta activists have touched only some villages in eight mandals in Prakasam district, adds Mrs. Lakshmi.

The Mahila Satta plans to take up an intensive campaign against liquor from August 15. If the Government does not respond by closing down belt shops, it will resort to direct action from October 5.

The Lok Satta Party demands closure of licensed liquor outlets along highways and unlicensed outlets in villages and towns, ban on public drinking in open places, and the launch of an awareness campaign on the drink evil.