The Andhra Pradesh Government is violating the spirit of the Constitution and the letter of the Excise law by promoting unbridled liquor consumption through auction of liquor shops, charged Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan today.
Dr. JP, now in the U. S. taking part in a ‘Rejuvenate India’ campaign, explained in a statement that the license fee works out to Rs.50000 a day to a dealer who gets it by bidding for Rs.3 crore. To realize the license fee alone, the dealer has to make sales worth Rs.300000 a day. That is possible only when he/she promotes unauthorized outlets, known as belt shops. The Government itself is abetting the violation of the Excise law by ignoring the illegal liquor outlets. Had there been no opposition from women and civic society organizations, the Government would have legalized the illegal outlets by now, Dr. JP said.
Dr. JP added that traditional party workers not merely distributed liquor to influence voters during elections but also viewed liquor shops as an investment in politics.
The Lok Satta President rubbished the Government excuse that limiting liquor outlets would lead to illicit distillation of country liquor by pointing out that if village panchayats and women organizations were empowered, they could stamp out illegal outlets and illicit distillation.
Dr. JP congratulated party workers on protesting against liquor auctions peacefully and constitutionally.
Lok Satta activists undertook collection of alms near RTC X-road to go to the rescue of a cash-strapped Government, which encouraged liquor sales as a means of revenue. Among the participants in the campaign were leaders V. Laxamn Balaji, Dr. Pandurgana Rao V. Rohit Kumar, N. Saojadevi, Mahalakshmi, S. Gajanani, Dasari Ratnam, P. Sivaji and Mangala.
Mr. Balaji and Mr. Ratnam told the media that those politicians, who till the other day shed crocodile tears over the havoc caused by liquor, vied with one another in bagging liquor licenses. The police removed the protesters to the Chikkadapally police station and released them later.