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HindustanTimes Thu,25 Dec 2014

Elections to take the fizz out of wedding parties in Uttarakhand

Neha Pant  Dehradun, March 29, 2014
First Published: 22:27 IST(29/3/2014) | Last Updated: 15:27 IST(30/3/2014)

What could the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections possibly have to do with ruining the fun at weddings? A lot, but that is if you like drinking.

Extra vigilance is being observed in the region about liquor consumption, in view of the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. Strict issuance and checks on one-day bar licenses are bound to take the fizz out of the impending wedding season. The popular cocktail parties are likely to suffer a setback.

As per local party planners, the election season will play a spoilsport for cocktail parties as authorities are taking extra caution in granting liquor licenses. “It’s going to be hard to host cocktails parties in weddings. We are asking clients to arrange the liquor themselves, while we would be making other arrangements,” said a Dehradun-based wedding planner.

As per astrologer Sushant Raj, the wedding season is beginning as early as April 14 and will go on until May end, as far as the shubh lagnas (auspicious days) for weddings are concerned.

Uttarakhand goes to poll on May 7.

Notably, the state excise department and the Election Commission are maintaining a strict vigil on the liquor consumption in the region in order to check free distribution of liquor to lure voters. Ever since the enforcement of the model code of conduct (MCC) on March 5, the vigilance teams are also keeping a close watch on the usage of alcohol in various parties to prevent any unauthorized distribution of liquor under the garb of cocktail/wedding parties.

“We are being extra-cautious in the wake of elections. Also, our staff and vigilance teams constituted by the EC are paying surprise visits to such parties to ensure that the liquor licenses are not being misused,” assistant excise commissioner SK Kamboj told HT.

The excise department grants the one-day bar licenses at `2,000 per day. As the cocktail sprees go under a strict scanner, those who have been looking forward to sipping their drinks may be left disappointed.


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‘Central aid to state rose in past 3 yrs, but growth slow’

The annual assistance from the Centre to the state has increased in last few financial years, according to official statistics, even though the Uttarakhand government has been firing salvos at the central government over it.
 
Two days ago, the state Congress unit demanded `4,000 crore financial assistance from the centre.
According to the central statistics office figures, the Centre released `4883.74 crores for the state in 2011-12. It released `4717.68 crores in 2012-2013. And in 2013-2014, it increased the assistance to `5418.60 crores.

Uttarakhand is one of the 11 Himalayan states which enjoy special category status besides Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripura and Sikkim.
 
These special category states have to make part payment to the centre in lieu of getting funds for centrally-sponsored schemes.
Interestingly, on an average, central assistance has been substantial for the state though it has not helped Uttarakhand in increasing its Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) which is total monetary value of goods and services produced by a state economy in a given year.
“GSDP depends on various factors like rate of savings and investments and overall business atmosphere. But that doesn’t mean the state does not need help,” said Surender Kumar, media in-charge for CM adding that the state needs more funds.
 
The figures for Uttarakhand GSDP growth at constant (2004-5) price (as on 01-08-2014) was 9.36% in 2011-12. It was 5.61% in 2012-13 and 5.65% in 2013-2014.
 
Sometime back Planning Commission constituted a committee to study development in hill states arising from management of forest land with special focus on creation of infrastructure, livelihood and human development.
 
The report of the committee was discussed in Internal Planning Committee meeting held in February this year.
A Planning Commission note claimed that IPC broadly endorsed the recommendations of the committee. The report has also been forwarded to states for further inputs.

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