GUWAHATI, May 8 � Life has been replete with problems for the urban poor. Apart from the lack of minimum amenities in these families, alcoholism has badly affected their socio-economic lives.
As per a recent assessment study by the Guwahati Urban Area Development Programme, World Vision India, on the areas stretching from Basistha Chariali to Gorchuk, consuming country liquor which is a traditional and cultural practice in many communities has become an addiction for many affecting the health and family life and making them unable to move towards sustainable development.
Another significant finding of the study is that children are the worst affected group because of this addiction of their parents to alcoholism.
It needs to be mentioned here that amongst many communities in the State, brewing homemade liquor is part of custom and is integral in religious rituals and also during social affairs like weddings�and death in the family.
�As alcohol is locally available�all the time a section becomes addicted to it. Children are the worst affected group�because when their parents are into alcoholism and selling of alcohol there are family disputes and also their basic needs are neglected. The verbal and physical abuses due to alcohol influence also disturbs their minds �and lead to depression leading to poor performance in school and sometimes �even �drop �out of school,� said Gamliel Sherio, programme manager.
Another finding is that the poor economic condition of the family forces the �children �to �become child labourers and support their families.
�School drop outs were found mostly�in high school going children who are in the adolescent age�group. �Due to economic crisis, their schooling is affected as�their �parents �are �unable �to �provide proper clothing, school materials, nutrition and health care,� said Sherio. The main sources of livelihood of the people living on the outskirts of the city are petty business, selling of country liquor, rickshaw pulling, or working as a daily wage labourer.�Their income is irregular and low which can�barely meet the needs of the families. �
�The job opportunities in�informal sector, the myth of better facilities of infrastructure and services, the glitters of the city life are some of the pull factors which compel the urban poor to �live on in the city. These poverty pockets of the city are backward �and community people are ignorant, uneducated and�have low capacity to work �for their own wellbeing and develop-ment�leading to high child �vulnerability as well,� mentioned Sherio adding that poor socio-economic condition of the families has affected the health of the children, their performance in school, contributed to school drop-out, and increase in child labour.