Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Memo To Governor on Liquor Auctions


Shri ESL Narasimhan,
Hon'ble Governor of Andhra Pradesh,

Your Excellency,

We are constrained to bring to your kind attention that the Andhra Pradesh Government continues to play havoc with the health and economy of millions of people by unabashedly pursuing liquor as a source of revenue. What is more shocking is that a Government which swears by the welfare of the common man and takes up schemes ranging from supply of rice at Rs.2 a kg to construction of houses for all is ruining them by facilitating supply of liquor at every nook and corner all over the State. The Government hopes to realize a revenue of Rs.15,000 crore by way of license fees, excise and sales tax from liquor sales this year even as it spends only a fraction of it on all welfare schemes. Specifically we are submitting this communication given that the state government is about to auction the licenses to wine shops across the state. Estimates indicate that the government expects to realize a revenue of nearly Rs.4,500crores by this short-sighted step alone. It is this auctioning of liquor licences that is contributing to the unbridiled proliferation of illegal liquor lending & beltshops acorss A.P.

According to a rough estimate, liquor, illicit arrack and gudumba have already ruined the lives of nearly seven million of families in Andhra Pradesh. Field visits by Lok Satta Party volunteers have revealed that there are many villages in Andhra Pradesh which are peopled mostly by widows as men folk have succumbed to addiction to liquor. Tens of thousands of women are leading miserable lives as the men folk spend their hard earnings to buy liquor and subject them to domestic violence.

Women in both rural and urban areas have taken to the streets demanding closure of unauthorized outlets, known as belt shops, in their localities since easy access to liquor has aggravated the problem of liquor addiction. The other cause, of course, is free distribution of liquor during elections by most political parties as part of vote bank politics.

The Lok Satta requests Your Excellency use your good offices as per the constitution framework and to intervene with the Government and ensure that steps are taken to restrict liquor consumption. We suggest that the following measures may be considered:

* As an immediate step, the auctioning of liquor licences for wine shops, bar & restaurants has to be suspended

* Restrict the number of licensed liquor shops to not more than 1000 in the entire State

* Close down all liquor sops on highways, close to schools and places of worship, and wherever the local population, especially women, oppose the establishment or continuance of the shops.

* Prohibit drinking in public and close liquor outlets along all highways

* Ban unauthorized liquor outlets, and enforce the ban on illicit distillation and gudumba manufacture and entrust elected local bodies with its enforcement

* The State government should act upon the advice and direction of the Union Health Ministry on curbing consumption of alchohol in the state and not viewing alchohol sales as a source of governmental revenue. The Union Ministry has even put forward the proposal to compensate State Governments for any loss of revenue due to curbing the sale of liquor.

* Undertake a campaign to dissuade people from drinking , open de-addiction centers at major locations across the state.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely yours,

V.Lakshman Balaji
(General Secretary - Lok Satta Party)

N. Saroja Devi
(President - Mahila Satta)

(State Yuva Satta)

(GHMC Mahila Satta)

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