May 17, 2008 10:52:04 pm
If Union Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss has his way, October 2 — Mahatma Gandhi’s birth anniversary — will be a “dry day” all over the world. He is all set to take up the issue of alcohol along with tobacco in the World Health Assembly in Geneva on Monday.
Ramadoss told The Indian Express, “I have had a word with the Director General, World Health Organisation (WHO) on this issue, and I am going to strongly ask for designating October 2 as ‘No Alcohol Day’. The issues of tobacco and alcohol will be raised at the World Health Assembly. The WHO has to play a leadership role in this matter.”
Calling alcohol a grave threat to India and a mother of all problems, Ramadoss has long been requesting to stop on-screen consumption of alcohol which, according to him, encourages youngsters to take to drinking. “It’s the gravest issue and will become even more evil. About 6 million people below 30 years of age are at risk. A Framework Convention on Alcohol Control, similar to the one for tobacco, is expected to be introduced during the Assembly,” he added.
Recently, the Health Minister also asked the I & B Ministry to stop surrogate advertisements and urged political leaders to come out with their views on the alcohol policy. According to him, under Article 47 of the Constitution, alcohol has to be prohibited. However, besides four states — J&K, Gujarat, Mizoram and Manipur— no other state has any anti-alcohol policy.
Junk food is another concern of Ramadoss as he recently asked all states to withdraw it from school canteens. “We will see what the other countries are doing and exchange our views,” he said.
Besides, “we will be sharing bird flu samples with other countries”.
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