Despite recording almost 2,000 deaths due to alcohol and tobacco abuse, every year, death is “legally” sold in Goan markets in the form of deadly drugs which make enormous contribution to State’s revenue, Dr Shekhar Salkar, Chairman of Goa Medical Council, said on Saturday.
Dr Salkar was speaking during the inaugural function of the day-long seminar on ‘Alcoholism in Goa-impact of government polices and marketing strategies of alcohol companies’ organised by Jamaat-E-Islamic Hind, Goa Chapter.
While the State government has been successful in banning sale of tobacco products in all shops, establishments and eating outlets, there has been no ban on sale of liquor, Salkar observed. He pointed out that almost 100 percent drinkers and smokers get addicted to narcotics, however the enforcement agencies are keen in acting against narcotics addicts rather than punishing those addicted to smoking and drinking.
“A student or youth, who never smoked or drinks will never get addicted to drugs such as charas, ganja and cocaine. Alcoholism and smoking are gateway to drugs. However there are no concrete anti-smoking and anti-drinking laws in Goa,” Salkar said.
The noted cancer specialist alleged, “Narcotics, which leads to death of 10-15 persons in a year, is not legally sold but a ‘drug’ which kills around 2,000 people is sold legally”, while refering to alcohol.
As per State government records, the revenue collected through sale of liquor has always been on rise. Till mid January 2013, the excise department collected revenue of Rs 143.65 crore, which is Rs 20 crore more than that of financial year 2011-12. Similarly, for last fiscal 30 percent rise in revenue was recorded.
The doctor stressed on the need to put forth a demand before government to have a special cell for implementing anti-smoking and alcohol laws.
“There are several NGOs working to eradicate these addictions, however powerful industrial lobbies with political backings are continuously seen opposing the struggle,” he stated. [H]