Lok Satta

Saturday, 13 March 2010 13:14

Lok Satta to resist Liquor auctions

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If the Government goes ahead with liquor shop auctions as proposed in June, the Lok Satta Party will resist them peacefully, its leaders announced here today.



Talking to the media, Lok Satta leaders V. Laxman Balaji, V. Vijayendar Reddy, N. Saroja Devi said that the Government continued to turn a deaf ear to repeated representations from women’s and other civil society organizations to restrict liquor consumption considering that it has already ruined the lives of 75 lakh families in the State.



The Lok Satta leaders charged that the Government is shedding crocodile tears over the plight of the poor by planning “to make liquor available at Rs.35 a quarter bottle instead of at Rs.45 as at present with a view to reducing the financial burden on consumers and directing the staff not to shut down unauthorized outlets in villages to spare addicts the trouble of traveling to a licensed shop in the nearby mandal headquarters or town.”



The Government is expected to realize revenue of Rs.15000 crore by way of excise duty and sales tax, license fee for liquor shops etc. during the financial year 2010-11. The money it realizes is more than what it spends on free power to the agriculture sector, rice supply at Rs.2 a kg, scholarships and fee reimbursement to weaker section students, subsidized loans to farmers and self-help group women, pensions, and schemes like ‘Abhaya Hastam’ and ‘Arogyasree’.



The Lok Satta leaders appealed to people to realize that the Government is camouflaging itself as a welfare Government by launching a slew of schemes even as it is playing havoc with the health and finances of millions of people.



The Union Government, the Lok Satta leaders said, should direct and not merely advise the State Government to strip the Excise Department of powers to formulate policies concerning liquor consumption and entrust it to the Health and Medical Department since the former is interested in maximizing liquor consumption and not bothered about people’s health.



The Union Government should also come up with a policy to compensate State Governments for loss of revenue if they opted for restricting liquor consumption.