The Telegraph
Friday , November 9 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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Mission of liquor-less village

- Woman mukhiya bans booze and gambling

Patna, Nov. 8: Madhumala has done what many mukhiyas cannot even think of —ban boozing and gambling in villages that come under her jurisdiction of Mithai panchayat in Madhepura district.

Probably, she has become the first panchayat head in the state to stamp out liquor consumption.

On Thursday, the 40-year-old woman appeared at the Madhepura district magistrate’s janata durbar and submitted a petition seeking the administration’s intervention in shifting licensed liquor shops from the borders of Mithai bazaar on Madhepura-Saharsa road, around 8km from the district headquarters.

Deputy development commissioner Shrawan Kumar Pansari, who at present is holding the additional charge of the district magistrate, promised to look into her demand. “Along with excise department officials, I will visit the spot on Friday,” he said.

Ever since she was elected as the mukhiya, women used to meet Madhumala and complain of torture by their husbands in inebriated condition. The rising number of complaints of torture against women forced Madhumala to hold a meeting of panchayat representatives about two months ago.

Several meetings were held before making an official announcement at the panchayat meeting, she said.

People irrespective of caste, creed and religion pledged that they would not touch liquor bottles and indulge in gambling. “It was decided at the meeting that those found defying the panchayat orders will be liable for punishment. The defaulters would have to pay Rs 5,001 as fine to the panchayat,” she added. Mithai has a population of around 25,000.

She said committees had been set up at the village level to keep tabs on the boozers and gamblers.

“As sale of liquor has completely been banned in villages under Mithai panchayat, there is no liquor shop. But we had received reports that some residents are buying liquor from shops in neighbouring Bhantatti panchayat,” she said.

Madhumala revealed that even playing vulgar songs on cellphones and exhibition of obscene scenes in posters of Hollywood or Bhojpuri films has been banned in the villages. “According to the decision, those found to be playing vulgar songs, which hurt the sentiments of women, would have to pay Rs 501 as penalty,” she said.

Madhumala’s husband Dev Raj Arsh, a former athlete and social worker, said he was proud of his wife. Madhepura excise superintendent Harendra Upadhyay said going by the figures, it was evident that liquor consumption had gone up in the district.