JAIPUR: Thaneta village in Rajasthan's Rajsamand district became a liquor-free village on Friday after its residents voted to shut down all liquor shops in their panchayat.
2206 out of the 3245 eligible voters were in favour of alcohol prohibition. Only 61 votes were cast against prohibition while 40 votes were declared invalid. This comes after an anti-liquor campaign by the women of the village.
The village bore a festive look on Friday as people enthusiastically participated and officials of the Rajsamand district administration, including Collector Arvind Poswal and SDM CP Varma, supervised the polling. The special vote was carried out under the Rajasthan Excise Rules, which empowers a panchayat to opt for closing a liquor shop if 50 per cent of its residents vote for it.
The villagers celebrated their victory by dancing outside the polling booth after the result was declared.
Thaneta village Sarpanch, Deeksha Chauhan was delighted with the result and said, "We are happy that the wait of people of our village has finally ended. We want all liquor shops to be banned. People in Thaneta were inspiring each other to vote for this liquor ban and our work for the past several months has borne fruit with people's support."
Alcoholism has been a worrying issue in this region and since women are the ones who often suffer its ill-effects the most, they led by their fellow-woman sarpanch have been campaigning for prohibition for quite some time.
Sarpanch Deeksha Chauhan remarked, "When I used to go to different areas, women used to complain that their husbands wasted a lot of their earnings on liquor. Often the men used to even beat their wives or met with accidents while they were drunk and it's women and children who suffered. But now I think people's lives will improve a lot as we will have prohibition in our panchayat."
Among those most thrilled with the verdict is Malti Devi, who said her husband often thrashes her when he is drunk.
"Alcohol has ruined many families here," said Malti, among those who voted for the liquor shop's closure. She added, "We women are badly affected since we lose our husbands and sons to this habit. I hope we will now see the end of this disease of drinking."
The results of Friday's vote will be presented before the district administration and once they approve it, the excise department is likely to issue a notification announcing the closure of all liquor shops within Thaneta panchayat.