Maharashtra lifts ban on liquor sale in Chandrapur district
The Maharashtra government decided to lift the ban on liquor sale in Chandrapur district. The decision to lift the ban – imposed by the erstwhile Devendra Fadnavis-led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in 2015 – was taken in the state cabinet meeting held on Thursday.
The government said that the decision was taken after the Amarnath Jha committee’s report, submitted on March 9, found that the ban had failed owing to the illicit sale of country-made and duplicate liquor in the district, which are dangerous to health.
“The committee also found that the crime rate had increased in the district to 40,381 between 2015 and 2019 from the 16,132 cases recorded between 2010 and 2014,” stated a press release issued by the chief minister office.
The committee was formed after the issue of illicit sale of liquor was raised in the state Assembly in July 2018. The then excise minister had assured to constitute a committee to give recommendations to the state government on the issue.
Vijay Wadettiwar, state relief and rehabilitation minister and guardian minister of Chandrapur district, said, “The cabinet has decided to lift the ban considering its [the ban’s] adverse effects. The decision was taken after talking to all the stakeholders and following the recommendations of the committee.”
Former finance minister Sudhir Mungantiwar and BJP legislator from Ballarpur Assembly constituency in Chandrapur, said that the state government has accepted its failure to curb illegal activities.
“The government has cited the rise in the crime rate as its reason. If the state cannot stop the sale of illicit liquor and the related crimes, then how come they stop illegal dance bars, sand mafia, Maoists and terror activities,” said Mungantiwar.
The demand for banning liquor in Chandrapur was made in late 2010. Of the 847 gram panchayats in Chandrapur, 588 had demanded prohibition. Around 5,000 working women went on a 130km-long march from Chimur to Nagpur during the winter session in 2010 demanding the ban on alcohol. Following this, a committee was set up, which recommended the ban in the interest of health of the residents of the district.