GUWAHATI, July 15 – The bars and dhabas in and around the city may have come under the scanner in recent days, but the scenes centred on wine shops continue as usual with underage drinkers being able to buy alcoholic beverages at will. Few sales persons ask for age proof from young customers.
The situation appears alarming considering the fact that wine shops and dhabas selling alcoholic beverages have grown in the last few years, and some youths have even taken to drinking close to the shops after dark.
A resident of Kahilipara and a young professional, Anurita Pathak, said that she can observe young people consuming alcohol adjacent to a wine shop in her locality. Others too have confirmed seeing young boys sipping alcohol inside cars parked close to wine shops.
Academic Shakeel Zamal favours strict action against wine shops which sell liquor to minors. Many of these shops, he noted, have spread since the time licences were issued to appease some surrendered ultras and people close to politicians. Now the impact of such wrong steps is clearly felt in society.
“Book shops or coffee shops where decent conversations can be carried out have not increased in the city that has more disposable income than ever. But wine shops have mushroomed in every locality,” said Pranjit Das, an NF Railway employee. He added that the failure to stop underage drinking will weigh heavily on coming generations.
The district administration has clearly not been able to restrain wine shops from selling alcoholic beverages to young boys and girls. Many of the shops have put on display a signage stating that underage buyers will not be served. But that is where the act ends.