Munda, known for her anti-liquor campaign said that she along with eight other social activists and tribal leaders had filed a public interest petition in the High Court. The petition seeks prohibition on liquor in Odisha.

"Alcohol is the main cause of all social problems. Everybody knows its adverse impact on society. It affects family and society. The time has come for total prohibition," Munda said.

She said that a large number of tribal villagers in her home district of Keonjhar have shunned liquor in the past several years because of the anti-liquor campaign that she has led.

“A complete prohibition by the government would be a permanent solution to the problem of alcoholism and the deaths caused by spurious liquor,” she said. Munda also said that former chief minister Nabakrushna Choudhury had initiated steps to ban the manufacture and sale of liquor in the state by enacting the Orissa Prohibition Act of 1956. However, subsequent governments showed no seriousness in the matter.

Among other eminent signatories to the petition are woman tribal leader Suman Jhodia, social activist Gouranga Charan Hota, former state lawmaker Padmacharan Nayak, and former Odisha High Court Judge Choudhury Pratap Keshari Mishra.

About 300 people died in 1992 after consuming spurious liquor in Cuttack and Bhubaneswar. Since then, several women organizations have been demanding total prohibition on the sale and manufacture of liquor. The state imposed a ban on alcohol in 1994, but the Congress party, which came to power in 1995, lifted the prohibition arguing that it was causing huge revenue loss. After Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik took office in 2000, the government itself began retailing liquor.

(Agencies)

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