Addressing Trust Deficit Among Voters

The news report ‘Villagers don’t believe in Vishwajit’s new stance’ (NT January 13) is a clear vindication of Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu’s recent statement in his address to the Goa legislators that there is a “trust deficit between legislators and the people”. This is nothing new in Goan politics where our elected representatives have been indulging in doublespeak time and again and changing their tune overnight to safeguard their positions as well as their vote banks. The situation in Goa would have been different today had our elected representatives instead worked sincerely for the empowerment of their voters and addressed their needs and solved their problems. We would not have witnessed protests by villagers against the various projects like coal handling, double-tracking and power transmission, IIT campuses etc which are detrimental to the health of the natives and adversely affect their lives and livelihood.


Preventing Hooch Tragedies

Illicit liquor-related deaths have become shockingly common in India with latest cases being reported wherein twelve and five lives have been lost respectively in Madhya Pradesh’s Morena district and Uttar Pradesh’s Bulandshahr district. Last year, more than 100 persons lost their lives in Punjab’s Majah region after consuming hooch. Post tragedy, bootleggers are always rounded up and materials that were used to prepare hooch are seized and destroyed. However, the authorities are usually mere onlookers before the liquor-related tragedies strike. Those from the lower socioeconomic sections of the society are easy targets for illicit liquor vendors. People fall prey to ‘inexpensive and powerful’ liquor sold by unscrupulous elements. Dangerous spirits mixed with methanol give rise to morbidity and mortality of a severe nature. It is almost always the small time traders who are booked, while the larger perpetrators of the crime go scot-free. When a person partakes spurious liquor, the toxic effects of methanol become visible slowly but surely. Since the initial symptoms simulate routine alcohol effects, lives are lost due to a delay in shifting the the patients to a hospital. Every medical practitioner should know that ethanol is the antidote that has to be employed in methanol poisoning.   Nationalisation of sale of liquor to eliminate unlawful liquor operators, through a national liquor policy, and taking stringent measures to control the free availability of rectified spirit are steps that can go a long way in preventing hooch deaths. There is also an urgent need to scrupulously regulate the manufacture, transport and sale of illicit liquor. Same goes for the industrial alcohol, an essential ingredient in the making of illicit brew. The importance of breaking the bootlegger-politician-police-criminal mafia nexus in keeping hooch at bay cannot be overstressed.