Monday, June 18, 2012

Govt. has succumbed to liquor lobby, Charges Lok Satta

The Lok Satta Party today accused the State Government of succumbing to the liquor lobby in deciding to award liquor shop licenses to private parties through a lottery system.

In a media statement, Lok Satta Party General Secretary Katari Srinivasa Rao said that the Chief Minister had gone back on his promise to consult all parties before announcing the new liquor policy and issued the G. O. unilaterally. The policy is nothing but old wine in a new bottle. Through the so-called new policy, Mr. N. Kiran Kumar Reddy has demonstrated that he is no different from his predecessors, Mr. N. Chandrababu Naidu, who opened doors for belt shops and Dr. Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy, who spread them to every nook and corner.

Mr. Srinivasa Rao pointed out that the new policy effective from July 1, 2012 will once again lead to the sprouting of shops in benami names, formation of syndicates, proliferation of belt shops, flow of non-duty paid liquor and sale of liquor above the MRP (maximum retail price) as in the past.

If the Government does not revoke the policy, the Lok Satta Party in association with other parties and civil society organizations will mount an agitation and take recourse to legal means, warned Mr. Srinivasa Rao.

Considering that unbridled flow of liquor in the State has ruined millions of families, the Government should take over retail trade and rein in liquor consumption by restricting the number of shops and the timing of their operation. Panchayats should be empowered to prevent illicit distillation and unauthorized sale of liquor. If they fail to discharge their duty, they should attract the penalty of dissolution, said the Lok Satta General Secretary.

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