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Saints blame state govt for promoting liquor in Uttarakhand

A section of the seer community on Friday criticised the Trivendra Singh Rawat government for promoting liquor in the mountain state -- known as “the abode of the gods”

dehradun Updated: Apr 13, 2018 22:16 IST
Sandeep Rawat
Sandeep Rawat
Hindustan Times
The BJP government, however, denies promoting liquor in the state.(HT Photo)

A section of the seer community on Friday criticised the Trivendra Singh Rawat government for promoting liquor in the mountain state -- known as “the abode of the gods”.

Demanding less emphasis on liquor revenue in the state that is home to Chardham and several other religious spots, saints asked the BJP government to review its liquor policy.

Bharat Sadhu Samaj, a national-level organisation of Hindu saints, expressed its concern over respective state governments’ inclination towards increasing revenue from liquor sale instead of curbing and prohibiting it.

Bharat Sadhu Samaj vice-president Brahamswarup Brahamchari said Uttarakhand was the land of deities and in every kilometre, it has temples, shrines, ashrams and muths.

The state government’s excise policy was to make liquor available in every nook and corner of the state, he said.

“The government should roll back its current excise policy, instead of boosting sales; it should ensure minimum access and availability of liquor,” said Brahamchari.

Another seer, Satpal Brahamchari, said as per municipal by laws of Haridwar, liquor sale and consumption was prohibited within 5 km periphery of municipal corporation but still a large number of illegal liquor trade was going on openly in the pilgrim city.

“When liquor is available just a few km away from the city in the excise department allotted vends, then the very law restriction seems futile. Liquor should be totally banned in the whole city and illegal liquor trade should be reined in,” said Satpal Brahamchari.

Taking a dig at local legislator and cabinet minister Madan Kaushik for his statement that profit was not the motive of the state government but to check the illegal sale of liquor, he said if one fails in checking illegal liquor then it doesn’t mean it increases legal sale of liquor.

Mahamandaleshwar Swami Harichetnanad Maharaj of Hari Har ashram said in the spiritual city of Haridwar, situated on the banks of Ganga, it would be quite appropriate if total prohibition on liquor was made.

Swami Rishiswaranand said under the Bharat Sadhu Samaj, saints will generate spiritual awakening among youth, who have lost their way and are addicted to alcohol and tobacco consumption.

Government spokesperson and local MLA Madan Kaushik said the government not promoting liquor.

He said the government’s objective was to make the excise policy effective and stop illegal liquor trade.

“Liquor prohibition is in effect in Haridwar and recently administration has carried out an impromptu raid on a shop selling illegal liquor in prohibition zone. We assure the saint community of maintaining sanctity of the city,” Kaushik said.

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First Published: Apr 13, 2018 22:16 IST