The Lok Satta Party has demanded that the Andhra Pradesh Government halt liquor shop auctions scheduled for June 7 and save common people from certain ruin.
Leaders of the Lok Satta Katari Srinivasa Rao, V. Laxman Balaji, G. Raja Reddy and Prathap Reddy, Mahila Satta leaders N. Saroja Devi and S. Gajanani, Yuva Satta Leaders Dasari Ratnam and P. Sivaji submitted memoranda to this effect to Governor ESL Narasimhan, Chief Minister K. Rosaiah and Health Minister Danam Nagender on Tuesday.
The leaders pointed out that those liquor dealers, who obtain licenses after paying astronomical bid amounts, promote unauthorized outlets (belt shops) to recoup investments and make profits. As a result, consumption of liquor has been spurting year after year, wrecking the health and finances of millions of families year after year.
The leaders quoted a NIMHANS study to underline that while the Andhra Pradesh Government earns Rs.15000 crore revenue in the ensuring Excise Year on liquor sales, the people will be spending Rs.16900 crore on healthcare costs. Assuming that they spend Rs.20000 crore on liquor purchases, the total outgo people’s pockets works out to Rs.36900 crore in a single year.
“The Government policy is inhuman and immoral in that it swears by people’s welfare and implements schemes ranging from Rs.2 a kg rice supply to Indiramma housing but robs them of their money and health by promoting liquor sales to maximize its revenues.”
The Andhra Pradesh Government had better heed Union Health Ministry’s advice and entrust formulation of a policy on liquor consumption to the State Health Department. The Excise Department is concerned only with maximizing Government revenue and not promoting people’s health.
According to Lok Satta leaders, the Health Minister promised to raise the issue of liquor in the Cabinet meeting on June 5 and the Governor, action against belt shops.
The Lok Satta plans direct action if the Government does not respond positively.