Terming the new excise policy of the state government as anti-people, member of Parliament from Sangrur, Vijay Inder Singla, said the SAD-BJP government had passed on the mandate of governance to liquor lobby.
“If liquor sells, state survives, otherwise we perish-this is the message government is trying to send to the masses,” he said.
The Punjab cabinet on Thursday gave nod to the new excise policy, under which the government expects to generate revenue of Rs. 4,020 crore against Rs. 3,410 crore in the last fiscal. The government has set a target for selling 36,000 crore liquor bottles, 5,000 crore more liquor bottles than the last year.
“With new liquor vends being opened and liquor quota being enhanced, the government is promoting liquor in a state which was already facing an acute problem of drug addiction,” he said.
“On an average 12 bottles are being consumed by an average adult Punjabi in a year and Punjab has become the 2nd highest whisky consuming state in India. Alcohol is becoming a way of life in Punjab and every day in each household we see its abuse in the form of domestic violence, drunk driving, eve-teasing etc.,” he said.
Meanwhile, Singla said government had failed to amend Section 40 of the Punjab Panchayati Raj Act, which would have made it mandatory to accept people's will on prohibition of liquor.
Around 140 panchayats in Sangrur and Barnala have written to excise department not to open liquor vends in their villages, but their representations seem to have fallen on deaf ears, he said.