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Revenue minister wants ban on alcohol in suicide belt

india Updated: Dec 10, 2009 02:01 IST
Dharmendra Jore
Dharmendra Jore
Hindustan Times
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The state’s revenue department has found that uncontrolled alcohol abuse is among the prime reasons for farmers’ suicides in Vidarbha’s cotton belt. Revenue Minister Narayan Rane has requested Chief Minister Ashok Chavan to enforce prohibition in the six suicide affected districts.

Rane wrote to Chavan on Wednesday. “The Opposition has been defaming the government for not doing anything to check farm suicides,” said the letter, a copy of which is with the Hindustan Times. “But I have discussed the matter with my officials and they told me that alcohol abuse is also a prime reason that drives debt-ridden farmers to end their lives.”

Rane has requested Chavan to take a quick decision to ban liquor sales in the six districts. Chavan was unavailable for comment. Alcohol prohibition is already in force in Wardha because it hosted Mahatma Gandhi for several years before independence. However, the district has several illegal liquor dens and distilleries.

The six districts — the five others are Yavatmal, Amravati, Akola, Washim and Buldhana--have witnessed at least 10,000 farmers’ suicides in the past decade. The government has sanctioned several relief measures including the Prime Minister’s and chief minister’s relief packages for indebted farmers. Suicides, however, continue.