The state government is planning to come out with a de-addiction policy to curb the ill-effects of liquor consumption.
Social justice minister Shivajirao Moghe on Wednesday said this policy will be formalised after the cabinet decision within a month-and-a-half and his department was looking at measures to make access to alcohol difficult.
The proposal comes at a time when the state has encouraged the production of alcohol from foodgrains and given a huge boost to wineries. Moghe said the issue was mooted by social activist Anna Hazare during a meeting with the government. Hazare raised concerns about the increasing number of youth consuming alcohol.
He clarified there is no intention of curbing alcohol at private functions as reported by a section of media. “How can that be possible? That’s a personal choice and we don’t want to conduct raids on private dos,’’ said Moghe.
He said there had been a discussion to increase the legal age of drinking to 25 years from the current 21 years to prevent youngsters from drinking but no final decision had been taken on the same. “Our focus is on spreading awareness about the pitfalls of addiction rather than penalising people. We have roped in NGOs across the state,’’ said Moghe.
Moghe proposed liquor permits and bars can be banned in villages by a simple majority of resident women. The same may not work for cities, he added.
The proposal needs consent from the Education and Prohibition Department before sending it for final approval to the cabinet, the minister said.