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Ban on arrack in Karnataka

The arrack ban is one of the two ambitious programmes of the JD (Secular) and BJP government intended to rescue poor people from addiction and debt.

india Updated: Jun 30, 2007 13:55 IST

Manufacture and sale of arrack in Karnataka will cease from midnight on Saturday, rendering nearly 200,000 persons jobless and depriving the state exchequer revenue of around Rs 20 billion.

The arrack ban is one of two ambitious programmes of the Janata Dal (Secular) and Bharatiya Janata Party government intended to rescue poor people from addiction and debt, according to Deputy Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa.

The other one is the ban on lottery, which has been in force for several months now.

Yedyurappa had announced the decision to ban lottery schemes and arrack in this year's budget.

The state government has increased the license fee for bars, hotels and clubs selling liquor to make up for the revenue lost due to the bans. The state excise revenue for the last few years has been around Rs 40 billion.

Arrack manufacturers and vendors had challenged the ban but the state high court on Friday declined to intervene in the matter. Justice KL Manjunath, however, directed the state government to consider a rehabilitation package for the affected.

Karnataka now joins the three other southern states Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh where the manufacture and sale of arrack is banned.

The state excise department and police have been holding series of meetings in the last few days to decide on ways to prevent the sprouting of illegal distilleries brewing arrack.

A control room at the excise department here will become operational from midnight on Saturday and vigilance in areas bordering other states will be stepped up to prevent smuggling of illicit arrack, an official spokesperson told IANS.

First Published: Jun 30, 2007 13:41 IST