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Activists demand liquor ban in Uttarakhand, government says not feasible

dehradun Updated: Dec 13, 2017 20:34 IST
Uttarakhand news,Liquor ban,statehood activists

Activists have been demanding a ban on sale of liquor in Uttarakhand. (HT File PHoto.)

 Notwithstanding the demand of prohibition by four activists, excise minister Prakash Pant ruled it out saying any such decision would give a fillip to bootlegging and to consumption of spurious liquor.

The four statehood activists, who are on a fast-unto-death, are admitted to a hospital after they were forcibly shifted from Gairsain to Dehradun. Earlier in the day, the four tried to reach to the chief minister’s residence for putting across their demands.

But the police intercepted them near the gate of the Doon Hospital leading to an altercation. Adesh Chauhan , associated with the four activists, said the police took them to the police lines.

Praveen Singh from Delhi, Ram Krishna Tiwari from Rishikesh, Mahesh Chandra Pandey from Bageshwar and Vinod Juglan from Rishikesh had undertaken a padyatra from Nainital to Gairsain. They have threatened to continue their fast at the Doon hospital.

One of the demands of setting up a department for prohibition is not new. Many activists have led the ‘Nasha nahin, rozgar doh’ agitation in the 1980s. Singh said it was not impossible to set up a department for prohibition and the government would have to let go of the revenue concerns for betterment of the people.

Pant said the government has set a revenue target of Rs 2,300 crore from liquor sale in this ongoing fiscal. But he asserted that the main factor behind not imposing liquor ban was revenue. “Revenue is secondary for us. What matter is the well-being of the people.

Prohibition was not possible as it resulted in ill effects in other states as sale of spurious liquor and bootlegging went up, he said . “Prohibition was imposed in the country in 1977. It failed as the people started buying spurious liquor and many smugglers started operating in the cities.”

The government is trying to regulate the sale of liquor by bringing down the number of liquor shops, Pant said. “From 526 liquor shops last year, we granted licence to 509. We intend to bring down the numbers in the future.”

First Published: Dec 13, 2017 20:34 IST