The Selling Of Intoxicants Near A Residential Area: A Fear For The Safety Of Teenagers And Residents
The presence of alcohol establishments near residential areas is causing a stir in communities. The Gurumurthy Lane community feared the negative repercussions these shops had on students and the ill effects on its residents. Learn about how a community got together to strive for a single cause.
The existence of wine, alcohol or liquor shops near community areas is not a new theme, and many problems arise with such businesses. The lively neighbourhood of the Gurumurthy Lane faces these problems every day. The presence of a wine store right at the entrance of the lane, the only route that connects it to the main road, is not gone unnoticed by the residents. Almost everyone has faced some issues arise because of it, the main victims being women and impressionable children.
“I wouldn't like the wine shop just at the entrance, and during late evenings I've noticed many drunkards loitering about, which makes it unsafe for the residents,” says Vennela, one brave student who reaches home late at night.
She is a student studying at a nearby school, needing to commute by walking to and from. Many students just like her are as disgruntled by these shops and are appalled by the dangers they present.
She continues to say, “My tuition ends at 8:00 and I feel unsafe walking through the lane. I feel scared when im walking alone, and get a few friends to walk with me to my apartment.”
The dangers posed by the shop on students, especially females are to be taken with utmost seriousness. The safety of the children residing in the community is threatened due to the people running and buying from these shops. The student is very adamant to end the existence of such stores near the lane and suggests that the community must strive bigger to attain the impact it wants.
Many impressionable students are affected by these shops. Drivers who work in these areas say that minors too are found in these shops. These stores make alcohol and other harmful substances easily accessible to children and introduce them to such practices early on.
A preschool organiser within the neighbourhood also had similar views. The community worked as hard as it could to do something about the arising issues.
“The HAWA members approached us. It didn't have much impact on business but was causing a general inconvenience to the neighbourhood. It should be away from residential areas” said Ms Sri Laxmi, one of the organisers in the preschool.
A petition was organised by the preschool when they were approached by a relief organisation. People from all over the community heard and joined hands for a single cause. It further highlights the many problems the people were facing.
“94% of people voted to get the shops removed, but we were still unsuccessful. The government is obviously profiting from these kinds of shops, which is why they are not seriously intervening.” said the petition organiser in an apartment, Mrs Parvati, in the area.
Despite such an onset of opposition against the shops, they were not shut down. Such establishments make living harder for the residents.
“The shops completely take over the footpath area on the main road,” said an annoyed member of the community. It makes it harder for the students in society to walk there. “There are many shops nearby as well, with smoking and selling of harmful substances. These indirectly harm the residents.”
Many people agreed to feel insecure walking around these shops. The presence of schools and a metro station nearby also make them anxious about what might happen. There have even been reports of people harassing members in a drunken state and of fights breaking out. The presence of these shops endangers the people buying from them as well, as they are in danger of being subjected to harm by vehicles going across the road. In the meeting that was conducted by the residents on their final decision, a number of points were discussed.
“We discussed removing the shops. It shouldn't be there near a residential area, especially since we are a minister colony. There shouldn't be liquor shops near a colony. We will fight again this year.” pointed out Mrs Parvati.
A number of efforts were put into the cause. The community is not stopping at the petition. They plan to continue their fight for the community and are determined to win it. The license for an alcohol store lasts for two years, and they persevere and try again after the term is completed.
“We talked to the government councillor about the harmful effects. We went to the Municipal Office, The Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation and even the Customs Office. But they had already given them the licence. they said they would take better care about the placement of such shops.” continues Mrs Parvati.
Regardless of the little setback, the fight for justice continues and shows the strength and power of a community united hand-in-hand. Many communities, just like The Gurumurthy Lane, are stepping up and speaking out against such problems, for a better and brighter future for its students.
Written by Anoushka Kukreja
This feature article has been written by a student journalist as part of the April'23 cohort of the Re-Imagining Media Program.