LG urges stakeholders to spread the message of ill-effects of tobacco, alcohol

Port Blair
30 Jan 2017
The Directorate of Prohibition, in association with the Directorate of Social Welfare organized a convergence workshop on enhancing awareness against alcoholism on the topic ‘Role of Social Institutions to curb the problem of Alcohol’ at JNRM auditorium here on Monday. The Lt. Governor, A&N Islands, Prof. Jagdish Mukhi was the chief guest on the occasion. The Chief Secretary, A&N Administration, Mr Anindo Majumdar, Smti. Rupa Ray, DGP, Mr Rajesh Malik, Secretary, Social Welfare, Smti. Rashmi Singh, PBMC Chairperson, Mr B. Eswar Rao, Adhyaksh, ZPSA, Mr Jaydeep Kumar Dey, Chairperson, SSWB, Dr. Poonam Arora, Chairperson, UTCPCR, Smti Kiran Tigga, representatives from Police, Education, Health Departments, Civil Society Organizations, Councilors, PRIs and students were present on the occasion.
Addressing the gathering, the Lt. Governor said he banned tobacco products in the Islands on October 2, 2016,  keeping in view the welfare of the citizens as the total number of patients referred to mainland for treating oral cancer during the year 2016 increased to 86 cases compared to 50 cases in 2015. The increasing cases of  oral cancer has become a cause of concern for the Administration and if the situation is left to continue then it would have been alarming, he added.
The Lt. Governor said he has announced the new excise policy to curb excessive consumption of alcohol in Isles. He said a symposium was held last year in which participants urged for a complete ban on alcohol in Isles; however, the Administration has taken certain measures in the interest of the society at large by framing a new excise policy last December which has come into force from January 1, 2017 onwards. Efforts are also on to establish a new de-addiction centre in order to safeguard the young generation from falling prey to alcohol menace. In addition to this, the Lt. Governor said the price of liquor has been increased from 20% to 25% and the bar timing has been reduced to 6 hours. He further stated that bars and shops selling liquor have been directed to accept only card payment for purchase of liquor, thereby the buyers details will be recorded besides availability of liquor will be lessened gradually, said the Lt. Governor.
The Lt. Governor also welcomed views and suggestions from the Civil Society Organizations, Heads of Educational Institutions, Health Institutions, Police Department, Religious Organizations and the youths on how to control alcohol menace and their contributions towards eradicating such social evils from the society.
The Lt. Governor also stated that the percentage of alcohol consumption in Isles has increased from 15 to 20% and assured that within two months time efforts will be made by Administration to bring down the percentage of alcohol consumption. Gradually and in a year’s time, it can be brought down further with the support and cooperation of all stakeholders, he added. Similarly, sale of illegal liquor will be checked, minimum legal age for purchasing alcohol will be revised.
The Lt. Governor also appealed to all stakeholders to join hands with the Administration and help eradicate alcohol menace and tobacco products consumption in isles.
The Secretary, Social Welfare, Smti. Rashmi Singh through a power point presentation highlighted the initiatives taken by Directorate of Prohibition towards enhancing awareness against alcoholism. She informed that symposiums, awareness camps, magic shows, puppet shows, poster/slogan competitions are being organized in schools, colleges and Panchayats. Similarly, hoardings, banners and posters with appropriate messages are being set up in prominent locations in the city and elsewhere. Distributions of IEC materials for generating awareness among masses, nukkad nataks, service through Arunodaya, outreach programmes are also being conducted. She also disclosed the road map for further initiatives and said in addition to the awareness activities that were organized more will be added. Community meetings will be organized at various places and awareness through mobile van, films, radio jingles besides regular convergence with stakeholders and strengthening of de-addiction centres are being planned.
Dr. M.K.Mahato, CMO, GB Pant Hospital while sharing the action plan of the Health Department said there is a need to identify the root cause and stages of addiction and accordingly the action plans must be initiated. He also suggested that creation of a separate ward, counselors and doctors for de-addiction is necessary.
Sharing the initiatives taken by the Police Department, SP, Mr R.K.Pandey said the Police Department is working in unison with Social Welfare Department by creating awareness among school, college students besides keeping regular check and carrying out search operations on illegal sale of liquors, preventive action against bootleggers, challan for drunken driving etc. He said the Police Department with the help of all stakeholders will strive to eradicate the menace of alcoholism in society.
The Deputy Director (Edn.), Mr S.S. Rawat shared the roadmap of the Education Department in curbing alcoholism and tobacco menace. He said in-service training programmes will be organized regularly incorporating a developed module, well planned activity calendar for creating awareness among students and masses besides nukkad nataks, street corner meetings regularly involving social community leaders. Zonal Officers will also be directed to monitor the awareness programme regularly, he said. The workshop was followed by an open session wherein stakeholders, civil society organizations, religious institutions, PRIs, academicians & students shared their proposed initiatives for curbing social evils.  The Director Prohibition/Social Welfare, Mr Jitendra Aggarwal proposed the vote of thanks.