Cheers to change: Women in Himachal’s Tatyana band together against drugs, alcohol abuse - Hindustan Times
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Cheers to change: Women in Himachal’s Tatyana band together against drugs, alcohol abuse

By, Shimla
Jul 10, 2024 07:20 AM IST

Women from the Tatyana village were the major force behind panchayat’s decision to ban serving liquor at wedding ceremonies and other social gatherings

Looking to be harbingers of change, rural women from the Tatyana panchayat in Shillai joined hands against alcohol and drug abuse — major issues affecting the youth. The women have imposed a complete ban on serving liquor at wedding ceremonies and other social gatherings at the panchayat, warning of strict action against violators.

Women attended panchayat meetings in large numbers to endorse banning alcohol at social gatherings. (HT Photo)
Women attended panchayat meetings in large numbers to endorse banning alcohol at social gatherings. (HT Photo)

The panchayat during its monthly meeting mulled over the rising alcoholism and drug addiction in the region, in turn taking the call to impose a 5,000 fine on the families violating the diktat. The move found unanimous support from women, who attended the meeting in large numbers to endorse the decision.

The move, which comes in the backdrop of increasing menace of drugs, has been welcomed by the local community, with many extending support. “This is a much-needed step towards creating a healthy and drug-free society,” Satya Devi, a local resident, said, adding, “We appreciate the women’s initiative and will extend our full support to them.”

As per 2011 stats, Tatyana is spread across 800.9 hectares and has a total population of 2,033. Of these, 1,052 are men and 981 women. The meeting discussed the decisions taken 15 years ago on prohibition, which were being flouted. The women then decided to push for stricter measures to keep the panchayat drugs-free.

Sustained efforts

“It’s not the first time that women have raised their voices against alcoholism. The panchayat had prohibited use of liquor 15 years ago, but we have noticed that the youth too was indulging in alcoholism and drug addiction so we have decided to penalise those serving liquor at social gatherings,” panchayat pradhan Parvati Sharma said, adding, “Serving liquor at wedding even puts economic burden on the families.”

“If one does not abide by the decision, a case will be registered against them with the police,” the pradhan warned.

The move has also come as a testament to the leadership skills and determination of women in the region, with even the panchayat seeking help from “mahila mandals” to rid them of the drugs and alcohol menace.

The women are now working closely with the local police and other authorities to ensure that those violating the rules are brought to book.

In recent years, Himachal has witnessed a surge in drug use, with an increasing number of youngsters falling prey.

The state government has taken several steps to combat the problem, including launching awareness campaigns and setting up more rehabilitation centres.

The women-led campaign, meanwhile, will not just be limited to imposing a ban on liquor and other drugs but also aims to create awareness about the ill effects of drug use and provide support to those who are struggling with the problem.

They are already in the process of organising awareness camps and rallies and providing counselling services.

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