Fourteen-year-old Divya (name changed) wasn’t least bit worried about the scorching sun while she stood on the sands of the Marina holding a placard on Monday.
The class topper had enthusiastically offered to participate in the awareness rally on ill-effects of alcohol. But the personal story she narrated was quite tragic.
Her father, an engineer, was addicted to alcohol and died two years ago of a liver failure. “It can devastate a family. We had little savings. It is a blessing that my mother too is a working woman. Otherwise, God knows what would have happened to my studies,” she said.
The awareness rally, part of a state-wide campaign conducted by the Prohibition and Excise Department, saw huge participation with thousands of students taking to slogans and holding placards exhorting people.
In the evening, a symposium on the ill-effects of liquor consumption was also conducted at the Ethiraj College.
Officials said the government was committed to spreading awareness about what abuse of alcohol could lead to. Also, stringent action was being initiated against spurious liquor in the State, to the extent that majority of districts have now abolished spurious liquor.
In this regard, it was pointed out that between April 2012 and March 2013, 89,572 cases have been booked during prohibition raids for stocking spurious liquor. Over 90,000 persons have been booked. Over 11,75,000 litres of the spurious liquor has been seized which was worth over `4.70 crore.
Hundreds of vehicles used to smuggle the illegal products were confiscated and 216 such accused have been booked under the Goondas Act.
Also, close to `5 crore had been disbursed to 1898 reformed criminals who were in the business of producing spurious liquor.
The rally in the morning was flagged off by Mayor Saidai Duraisamy and Minister Natham Viswanathan.