Vyasanmukti Parishad

The state level Darubandi Vysanmukti Parishada was organised on the background of the committee set up by the Govenrment of Maharashtra to reassess the prohibition in CHandrarpur district. The meeting was attended by prominent activists from several districts including Dr. Hamid Dabholkar who has done strong work in the area of community mental health and community based rehabilitation. He does not favour prohibition because according to him it has not proven to work in any part of the country or in the world, but he is is committed to the struggle of anti-liquor activists especially women whose protests play an important role in controlling the supply-side policies of alcohol. On the other hand, the Parishad was attended by Mahesh Pawar from Yavatmal (Swamini Darubnadi Sanghatna) and Satyabhama Saundarmal (Beed) who are committed to total prohibition. According to them without ensuring prohibition only counselling and deaddiction programmes are failures in the long-term. Shramik Elgar was represented by paromita Goswami and Vijay Siddhawar who are also prohibition activists but who see that there are valid observations in favour of deaddiction. Adv. Farhat Baig and Adv. Kalyan Kumar were also present and presented the legal aspects of prohibition especially the Maharashtra Prohiition Act, 1949 and the implications for prohibition and deaddiction activism in the State. There were intense discussions on the various aspects of the movement and some future activities were also discussed. This included making a register of drunkards in the villages, pursuing the government for prohibition in Yavatmal, refusing benefit of government schemes to people who are caught in illicit liquor trade, strengthening of policing and surveillance and also demanding for well-equipped deaddiction centres run by the government healthcare agencies in every block. It was also discussed that we need to counter the false propaganda by the liquor mafia that excise is an important resource of revenue for the government and we should point out that prohibition in districts cannot lead to fall in revenue because the same is collected from the manufacturing units. Thus, the claim of certain people that probibition in Chandrapur has led to massive fall in revenue for the government is a false one because the revenue was never collected from Chandrarpur in the first place – it was collected from the factory companies. Secondly, the argument of revenue should be countered by the social costs suffered by society as a whole because of alcohol which includes domestic violence, accidents, deaddiction costs and health cost for the entire family.