I remember the day when my news report about Assam state’s excise department’s inaction in respect of auctioneering of liquor sales system in Guwahati, was not published in the news paper to which I represented. I had tough time in procuring the news through a reliable source. The source from which I got the news had no right to interfere into the continued malpractices going on in the excise department of the state. There was a clandestine understanding between the existing dealers and excise officials. It was at the fag-end of the year 1981, when I entered into the field of journalism after passing long 25 years’ career in marketing. I joined an English daily newspaper, which hit the stand on 30th day of January 1982. The auspicious day was Saraswati Puja.
My report dealt in detail that ignoring all rules and regulations, the excise department failed to invite tenders for auction of liquor sale permit on annual basis. During that period there were only two dealers in Guwahati city, who used to obtain liquor sales permit. Despite my keen interest the report did not appear in the newspaper for ‘certain reasons’. However, I did not mind as the high standard citizens used to feel shy to publicize such matters that were looked upon as disgraceful. At least it was realized that the habit was bad.
Now, the time has changed and the present society led by young generation feels pleasure in displaying high fashion, which has become a status symbol for them. Orthodox united family system has taken back seat. Parents lack control over their children as they fail to satisfy their needs. Increasing population in the state has led serious unemployment problems. The state government has failed to provide employment to educated unemployed persons and under the unorganized sector too there is no scope for them as the state lacks industrial development. Even funds received from the Union government for implementation of Central government schemes are not properly utilized. To cover up its failure in providing employment the state government initiated granting liquor sale permits to such people on the plea that the liquor sale would fetch heavy revenue to the state exchequer. In the state like Assam, where a number of mineral deposits and forest products as coal, oil, wood and tea industries have great scope to fetch revenue, the state government could find liquor trade only to bring revenue for state. This action of the state led the young people not only to spoil the traditional character of society, but also degrade them mentally and morally.
Mushroom growth of liquor shops and bars are one of the reasons of ‘uncivilized’ behavior of present generation. The GS Road incident of July 9, which led to molestation of a girl in the city is not alone the incident occurring these days. There are many ugly incidents, which go unheard and unreported. The state government which failed to provide security and safety to the people cannot shift its responsibility to maintain law and order on the plea of shortage of security personnel. After all there is no shortage of manpower in state and vacancies also exist in police department. Every day dead bodies are found in different parts of the city and in the rural areas. The state lacks security forces and despite large scale vacancies in the department those posts are not filled up. What hinders the Home department to fulfill the vacant posts? Inaction by the state leads to increase of crime graph day by day.
The conscious people of the state feel that a few ‘anti-social politicians’ have major role in destroying the social trends of Assamese society by making the youths liquor addicts. If this situation is allowed to continue the glory of Assamese society would be ruined. Assamese warriors who fought the strong Moghals army bravely would lose their name in the future history. By all means it is time to change situation because liquor addiction spoils social character.