Kerala village spends Rs.10 mn on development, Rs.66 mn on intoxicants

July 14th, 2008 - 9:11 pm ICT by IANS  

Kozhikode, July 14 (IANS) Nanamanda panchayat (village council) in Kozhikode district in Kerala annually spends around Rs.10 million on its development, but six times that amount - Rs.66.37 million - is spent on intoxicants like cigarettes and pan masala, a survey by school students in 6,400 households in the panchayat has revealed. The comparison, revealing the high use of intoxicants in Kerala society, was brought out in a survey ‘on household expenditure and on intoxicants’ conducted by the class 12 students of the Kolathur Government Higher Secondary in the panchayat.

“We had organised the survey as part of teaching the theory of consumer behaviour. The data were collected from 640 households, which were selected using the random sampling method,” P.K. Shaji, the economics teacher at the school, told IANS.

The survey revealed that 45 percent of men in the panchayat are smokers and collectively spend about Rs.45,000 a day on smoking. Thirty percent of the men consume alcohol and their daily expenditure on this count is around Rs.129,000. The sale of pan masala accounts for a daily expense of Rs.3,000.

“The survey was held from June 18 to 20. It involved 90 students,” said G.N. Ragisha, a student who took part in the exercise. The survey teams collected data from 40 households in each of the 16 wards in the panchayat.

Shaji said the survey result was submitted to Kerala Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan July 8 and he promised a detailed study on its findings.

The survey report has prompted the village council authorities to conduct an awareness campaign against the use of intoxicants. As per 2001 census, the panchayat has a population of 25,628.

“This study has helped to highlight the high use of intoxicants in Kerala society. The situation (use of intoxicants) will not be much different in other panchayats in the sate,” said V. Mohandas, the panchayat president.

“We had banned the sale of pan masala in the panchayat. But the survey says that Rs.3,000 worth pan masala is sold daily. This makes it clear that a ban will not solve the problem. We have to enlighten people about the health hazards posed by these intoxicants,” he said.

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