While it is true that the Kolkata administration is going down the drain -- the city is yet to get over the aftermath of the hospital tragedy -- these people who visit the illegal joints too are responsible. They hardly have money to feed their family but they will spend on liquor.
Why compensate them with Rs 2 lakhs each? Giving compensation is no solution, action against these under-the-table joints is a must. We have not learnt from previous such catastrophes, as in Gujarat in 2009, resulting in the death of 136 people. That State had banned alcohol consumption since 1961 as a homage to Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi.
However, bootlegged alcohol is widely available. Gujarat has witnessed several occasions of alcohol poisoning, claiming the lives of more than 400 people after the ban was enforced.
To counter the liquor mafia, the State government formed the State Prohibition Department, which was dismantled later because of a shortage of police personnel. On 7 July 2009, 10 people died in Behrampura after drinking spurious liquor.
Keralites simply love their booze to death Despite the catastrophe that claimed 26 lives in the Malappuram district this month, the liquor consumption in Kerala continues to be on a rise. Sales cross all seasonal records during Onam.
Alcoholism is not just an evil in itself but the springwell of all social maladies afflicting society like a death trap, high rate of suicides, road accidents, crimes and all sorts of social, economic and psychological problems.
To fight this disease, that's what it is, governments ought to enlist the support of political anti-liquor campaigns. That might save huge amounts of money doled out after every irremediable calamity.
Tamilnadu serves as model, for it is better to legalise sale than tempt to go for the illegal stuff. Not just that, this brings in more if the much-needed revenue. This can be used for welfare schemes and used for crusades telling people of the evil in the bottle.
The reformer will oppose the use of intoxicating beverages, but secretly he knows it is an unmanageable and endless task trying to wean away those ardently devoted to that Greco-Roman deity.
It cannot be denied, nor helped if, there is a strong connection between the bootlegger and the police in most places. This social scourge can be taken on only in a sensitive manner, not making it a hole-and-corner racket.