Holi is just a week away, but in Foga village of Churu district celebrations have already started.
Through a referendum, the villagers voted to shut a decade-old liquor shop in Foga. With over 97% votes going against the shop, the verdict was crystal clear. The polling was organized by the excise department. Only 46 votes were polled in favor of the liquor shop, and 30 votes were canceled.
With this, Foga joins the league of three other villages—Kachhbali, Rojda and Mandawar—which have already been declared liquor-free villages over the past two years.
From morning, villagers started pouring into the polling booth set up in the village. The enthusiasm for shutting the liquor shop could be gauged by the fact that an elderly voter was carried to the polling booth on a cot.
Of the 2,556 votes which were cast, 1,381 were that of women. Determined women villagers came out of their houses in veils to vote. The youth too joined them in the cause. “I am an elected student leader and like me, several other students have supported the cause. Those who were not eligible to vote helped to spread awareness and motivated the villagers to come out and vote. This liquor shop is the root cause of all sorts of crimes and evil. All of us joined hands and united to fight against it,” said 20-year-old Durga Pareek, a resident of the village.
A villager Satya Narayan Jhajharia said, “A total of 2,556 votes were polled. Out of this, 2,480 voted to shut down the shop and 46 in favor of the liquor vent. The total polling percentage was 62.” Pooja Chhabra, national president, Sharab Bandi Andolan, was present during the voting. She termed it as a major victory in the fight against liquor.