HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE
KATHMANDU: Stakeholders have urged the government to draft a new policy to control alcohol consumption.
Sumnima Tuladhar, coordinator of the Nepal Alcohol Policy Alliance, said the government has not taken steps to draft an alcohol consumption policy despite pressure from the alliance.
Tuladhar said the alliance has prepared a draft alcohol policy on the basis of World Health Organisation’s Global Strategy to reduce the use of alcohol. Nepal ratified the strategy in 2010, which has recommended 10 target areas for policy options, including health services’ responses, community action, pricing policies and reduction in public health impact resulting from illicit and informally produced alcohol.
According to WHO, every year, the harmful use of alcohol kills 2.5 million people, including 3.2 lakh youth aged between 15 and 29 years. It is the third leading risk factor for poor health globally, and harmful use of alcohol was responsible for almost four per cent of all deaths in the world, according to the estimates for 2004.
Although there is no dearth of national policies to control alcohol trade, there is no policy to regulate alcohol consumption in the country, said Tarak Dhital, spokesperson for the Child Workers in Nepal Concerned Centre.
Some of the national policies to control alcohol are Liquor Act-1974, Alcohol Rule-1976, Local Self-governance Act-1996, Excise Duty Act-2002, Liquor Distribution and Monitoring Regulation-2008 and Custom Duty (second amendment) Regulation-2009. Till date, the focus has been on distribution and sale of alcoholic products, and revenue collection, said Dhital.
He said the country should draft a policy as per its international commitment to regulating and monitoring alcohol consumption.
Alliance member Shanta Lal Mulmi said a comprehensive policy is essential for the country to solve social and health problems. He said the government should either amend alcohal-related laws or bring new ones to fulfil international obligations.