BJP-ruled Uttarakhand wants to replace this VHP cow shelter with a liquor store | dehradun | Hindustan Times
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BJP-ruled Uttarakhand wants to replace this VHP cow shelter with a liquor store

The Pauri Garhwal administration wants a cowshed run by some functionaries of Vishwa Hindu Parishad, a right-wing outfit, to move elsewhere and make way for a liquor shop in the area. Not surprisingly, the government decision snowballed into a controversy in Srinagar town.

dehradun Updated: Jun 19, 2017 09:00 IST
Anupam Trivedi
Women protest outside the spot where the liquor shop will come up in Srinagar Garhwal.
Women protest outside the spot where the liquor shop will come up in Srinagar Garhwal. (HT Photo)

DEHRADUN: That the BJP milks the cow to its benefit is no secret. But for once, the Trivendra Singh Rawat government has no qualms in milking the liquor business for revenue.

The Pauri Garhwal administration wants a cowshed run by some functionaries of Vishwa Hindu Parishad, a right-wing outfit, to move elsewhere and make way for a liquor shop in the area. Not surprisingly, the government decision snowballed into a controversy in Srinagar town, 150 km from here.

In May, the Uttarakhand government unveiled its new excise policy with a revenue target of over Rs 2,000 crore for the fiscal 2017-18, up from the previous year’s collection of Rs 1,905 crore.

This was done despite restricting sales from nine to six hours in hill districts and liquor shops facing stiff opposition from the people, especially women. The district magistrates are directed to ensure liquor shops run without any hurdle. Shops are provided police protection but the protests continue across Uttarakhand.

The liquor shop in Srinagar town also faced stiff objection. Ironically, the owner was alloted a new plot close to the ‘Gotheerthashram’ (cow shed). Women are protesting against the shop’s opening. Citing rule, the district administration has now asked the cowshed caretakers to leave for a new location.

“We have some 80 odd cows in the shelter house. The municipal council has alloted land to operate. Locals will help to operate the place, and now we have been given marching orders,” Navin Nautiyal, one of the functionaries of the cowshed, says.

Srinagar sub divisional magistrate Mayadutta Joshi says the cowshed is creating problems to the traffic.” Therefore, we have asked the management to move to another place.”

All India Students Association former president Indresh Maikhuri, who is involved in holding anti-liquor protests in Srinagar and Karnaprayag, accuses the BJP government of playing in the hands of liquor traders. “No one is for cows. It is an issue raised only for politics.”

BJP state president Ajay Bhatt defends the government, saying liquor is not priority for the government. “I will have a word with the chief minister. It is strange that a cowshed was asked to move to make way for a liquor shop,” he says.