Alcohol farm

Maharashtra village offers scholarships to children whose parents quit drinking

The family members of Mohan Kopnar, 40, are very happy as he is one of a handful of alcoholics who would pledge in front of their village on August 15 to give up alcohol consumption permanently. However, this detox program comes with an added incentive – scholarships for the children of those who give up alcohol.

These alcoholics, residents of Goundare village under Karmala tehsil of Solapur district in western Maharashtra, are part of a new initiative to persuade people to voluntarily avoid alcohol and protect their health and well- to be of their family. To deter alcoholics from drinking, the Panchayat Samiti of Karmala, in association with a few non-governmental organizations (NGOs), has launched a new program – “Stop Drinking and Win Scholarships for Children” – in more than 100 villages in the tehsil .

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The same ploy encouraged Kopnar to pledge to abstain from alcohol. Manoj Raut, the Block Development Officer (BDO), said that under the scheme, drinkers who want to kick the bottle will have to make a vow in front of their village on Independence Day never to drink alcohol again. “As the person strictly adheres to the commitment of abstinence from alcohol, their children will be rewarded with a ‘scholarship,’ exactly after one year on August 15, 2023, and the person will be commended,” he said. .

The BDO said that two social groups – Yashkalyani Gramin Sevabhavi Sanstha and Gram Sudhar Samiti have been enlisted to carry out the project in Karmala tehsil. A circular addressed to 105 villages in the bloc (tehsil) was issued to the respective gram panchayats to raise awareness of the initiative and encourage drinkers to come forward for the alcohol-free pledge and embark on a new journey free from intoxication, said Rault.

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“Everyone knows about the harmful effects of alcohol consumption. In addition to seriously damaging health, alcohol addiction destroys families. Parents, spouses and children are the most affected,” said Officer Raut expresses confidence that the program will bring positive results and that more and more drinkers in rural areas will “voluntarily” come forward to quit the harmful habit for the sake of their lives. children.

Bapu Daunde, a gram sevak from Goundare, said that after receiving the circular about the program, they organized a ‘gram sabha’ (village assembly) where people were told about the initiative. “At the meeting, we got an instant signup from a heavy drinker who wants to quit drinking and get a scholarship for his kids,” he said. Daunde said they would organize a ‘prabhat pheri’ (morning walk) of village school children to raise awareness of the program and reach more drinkers.

Kopnar, while talking to PTI, says he is a farm laborer and has two daughters and a son. “I have been drinking alcohol for several years. During the gram sabha, when the information about the program was given, I expressed my wish to stop drinking and get a scholarship (for his children)”, Kopnar said. He said his family members – wife, daughters and sons – were very happy after he told them about the August 15 pledge to stop drinking.

“I know it is very difficult to quit alcohol suddenly, but for the future of my children and to obtain scholarships for them, I will strengthen my willpower and stay away from alcohol,” Kopnar said. Ganesh Kare Patil, chairman of Yashkalyani Gramin Sevabhavi Sanstha, one of the NGOs contracted to implement the program, said his team will provide scholarships to people who successfully avoid alcohol for an entire year. “Instead of giving a scholarship in the form of money, we will provide the educational materials required by students for the entire academic year,” he said.