While women throughout Himachal Pradesh are up in arms over liquor vends mushrooming in their villages, a women’s organisation in Nerti village, 25 km from here, has defied the trend.
Administrative officials at the district headquarters were taken by surprise when nearly 50 members of Sanjeevni Nari Shakti Sangathan submitted a memorandum urging the government not to close the liquor vend in their village. As in that case, liquor would still be available surreptitiously from the village shops as smugglers allegedly sell alcohol to these shops. So, according to them, liquor vend is a much better option.
“Recently, a clash took place at the village vend and it has left one of its employees seriously injured. Now, the contractor is also receiving life threats. We don’t want bloodbath in our village,” said Indra, president of the sangathan.
Alleging that relatives of the some local panchayat functionaries are also involved in the illegal trade, she said: “This liquor vend has affected the business of smugglers here so they want it to be removed forcefully.”
However, the village head has a different story to tell. Rajeshwari Rana, president of the village panchayat, said the liquor vend was within the 20-metre radius of a government school, so the villagers wanted to either get it closed or shifted to some other place.
The rule book says that a liquor vend cannot be built within 100 metres of any education institution.
“The place has turned into a virtual retreat for anti-social elements. People pick up fights in inebriated condition and create nuisance for passersby,” Rana said.
Talking about the organisation shielding the liquor vend, she said that the organisation was already under the scanner of the local panchayats for its dubious activities.
Meanwhile, district administration officials, who have visited the village many a time after the clash took place, have set a deadline of June 30 to either close or shift the liquor vend.