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Did Uttarakhand just take a step towards liquor ban?

By Shishir Prashant
June 05, 2017 12:04 IST
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CM Trivendra Singh Rawat cancels licences of the two government-controlled liquor shops in his constituency. The state government is facing an uphill task in opening new shops in face of widespread agitation by women. Shishir Prashant reports.

Wine Shop

IMAGE: Senior officials said the Uttarakhand government was to close more liquor shops in the state, buckling under the pressure of the agitation.
Photograph used for representational purposes only: Reuters.

 

In what appears to be the first step toward prohibition, Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat on Sunday cancelled licences of the two government-controlled liquor shops in his Doiwala Assembly constituency, near here, in view of wide-spread agitation by women.

"Today, we cancelled two licences of liquor shops at Sun village in Doilwala area (Dehradun district). We will return the royalty of ₹52 lakh also," Rawat said, after performing the bhoomi pujan of the University of North West Himalayas in Dehradun district.

Scores of women had been bitterly opposing the opening of two liquor shops under the new excise policy for 2017-18, at Sun village in Doiwala Assembly constituency of the chief minister. Similar protests are being organised elsewhere in the state, too, with women opposing the opening of liquor shops.

Senior officials said the government was to close more liquor shops in the state, buckling under the pressure of the agitation.

But Rawat said he was not too sure whether closing two liquor shops would help in curbing drinking. "He will still bring it (liquor) from nearby areas. But will it (the step to cancel these licences) really help? I doubt."

Rawat said a value system keeps people away from drinking. "Look at me. I have never touched liquor in my life. Good values inculcated in me really helped," Rawat said.

The chief minister appealed to women to instill good values among children so that when they grow they keep away from liquor.

Last month, the state government announced the new excise policy for the year 2017-18, under which it has fixed a revenue target of ₹2,310 crore through over the sale of liquor in over 500 government-controlled shops. But the government is facing an uphill task in opening the new shops in face of widespread agitation by women.


Also read: Do alcohol bans work?

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