Booze joints: New school for Students?
S Henlly Phom
DIMAPUR, SEPTEMBER 1
Are decent drinking inns around? Yes, you’ll find many of them spread around the city. But why are these inns considered to be filthy? Nagaland is supposed to be a dry state but drinks are available in plenty. The state government passed a Nagaland Liquor Prohibition Act in November 1989. However, it has become a mockery as flow of Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) has increased manifold through liquor barons and bootleggers catering to demand of consumers.
Various brands of IMFL are easily available and thousands of booze joints flourishing throughout the state in almost all urban and semi-urban areas, or for that matter even at some roadside stalls. These have not only become cozy places for the common public as hangouts but for the students in uniform as well. And this is the crux of the day.
The efforts of the students’ unions to put an end to this malady and check students from loitering around the booze joints in uniform during class as well as after class hours has just become in vain.
“A good number of students come to drink in uniform,” says an owner of a booze joint at Super Market in Dimapur who prefers not to be identified. She says she does not entertain students in uniform at her shop nor does she allow them even to enter through the door.
Since it is a business from which she earns her daily bread, she advises the students coming in uniform to come but not in uniform and to respect the uniform and the education that they are undergoing.
However, another owner rather dismayed over the adamant ways of the students says, “After some students union had come for checking, I have stopped allowing students in uniform, but the students insistence sometimes makes me impossible to refuse them as I have to keep my business running.”
Even though the business is their daily bread, the owners of the booze joints also lamented that it saddened them to see the students disrespecting their uniform and education as they have missed the opportunity of going to school while being raised with great difficulty by their parents.
The residents of the locality, noticing students gathering in uniform occasionally at the booze joints say they feel sorry seeing the students wasting their parents’ hard earned money and are worried if their children will follow the same path.
Talking to Eastern Mirror, Dimapur Naga Students’ Union (DNSU) president, K Mhachio Lotha said that DNSU has been conducting raids on students in uniform around the availability points of booze.
“We take the students, inform their parents and they are made to sign a bond in order to avoid it in future. Most of the parents are not aware of such activities. So, whether it be a boy or a girl involved, the DNSU office bearers make sure that the offender’s parents are informed accordingly,” says Machio.
He also said every sensible person having a concern for the younger generation should see that churches, institutions and family play a vital role. “Booze joints should also not entertain underage students and those in uniform, he adds.”
Maintaining that this year, the number has subsided with lesser complaints from the locality; a chat with the owners of booze joints brings to light that a good number of students in uniform still keep coming and hang around.
Blame it on these irresponsible students for hanging around at these booze joints. However, even as Nagaland has been declared ‘dry’, bootlegging and open sale of alcohol are rampant across the state.
“If the Prohibition Act cannot be implemented, then of what use is the legislation?” questions a man who prefers to remain anonymous.
What can be done depends on the contribution of every individual with a responsible and principled attitude. Yet the state and the law enforcers has the greater responsibility to curb the menace.