CHENNAI: More than one in two alcoholics consume liquor on a daily basis; two-thirds of women feel their families have become poorer due to their drunkard husbands; and there is a rise in number of patients admitted to government hospitals for alcohol-related ailments.
These are some of the findings of a survey to map the socio-economic effects of consumption in Tamil Nadu, which were released by two activists-cum-researchers of Satta Panchayat Iyakkam (SPI) here on Thursday.
Jayaram Venkatesan, a post-graduate in Electrical Engineering, now working with marginal farmers, conducted the survey in 15 villages and towns across five districts viz., Cuddalore, Tiruchirapalli, Kanchipuram, Dindigul and Chennai. In all, 644 men and 573 women were interviewed by Venkatesan and Ajaykumar Thanniratnam, a PhD in Physics, of Maqsool Trust.
“As much as 52 per cent of women said their spouses had been drinking for the last 10 years, while 83 per cent said frequency of drinking had increased during the decade,” the research said.
Extrapolating the findings of the survey to Tamil Nadu, the researchers said there were 1.32 crore alcoholics in the State, of whom 70 lakh take to the bottle everyday. The average expenditure of alcoholics on liquor per month was stated as `4,312, which has shot up to `6,552 in case of daily drinkers.
Using these figures, and adding wage loss due to alcoholism and costs on healthcare, the duo calculated that `67,444 crore per year was lost due to alcoholism in the State, which pales in comparison to `25,000 crore the State earned as revenue from its sale of liquor.
The data shows that 70 per cent of alcoholics live within one kilometre of a Tasmac outlet. A higher percentage of men who drink everyday subject their families to physical violence as compared to those who abstain. Data obtained from government hospitals through RTI queries on admissions due to alcohol related health reasons showed an increasing trend from 2000 onwards, with a steep increase from 2011 onwards.
Significantly, 95 per cent of women and 89 per cent of the men interviewed for the survey said that Tasmac shops should be closed down. For a different set of questions, 42 per cent of respondents said the government’s first priority should be closure of Tasmac, as compared to 38 per cent who voted for education.
The booklet was released in the presence of retired IAS official MG Devasahayam, educationist Vasanthi Devi, advocate Sudha Ramalingam and writer Gnani.