‘New licence system in respect of bars will open floodgates to liquor consumption'

Leaders and cadres of the Telugu Desam Party here, led by their district president and Mylavaram MLA Devineni Umamaheswara Rao, on Tuesday held a protest demonstration raising slogans seeking immediate withdrawal of GO No. 723 related to new licence system in respect of bars and introduction of prohibition in a phased manner in tune with the election promise of the Congress.

Mr. Umamaheswara Rao came down heavily on the government saying that the new GO would open the floodgates to liquor consumption in the State.

Business in liquor worth nearly Rs. 2,000 crores was carried out in the State in July alone as the government was looking for increasing the finances from this source at the cost of people's welfare, he alleged.

The TDP cadres came out on the road and burnt copies of the GO outside the party district office on route number 5. The women cadres of the TDP were at the forefront to register their protest against the new liquor policy of the government.

Mr. Umamaheswara Rao demanded that Chief Minister K. Rosaiah immediately respond to the widespread opposition to and criticism of the latest decision over the opening of more bars based on population. This would lead to social problems, he said.

TDP Mahila wing leader and Polit Bureau member Uppuleti Kalpana and other women leaders also expressed their opposition to the new GO.

They asserted that the party women and youth wings would not keep quiet until the government withdrew the new policy.

AIDWA protest

Strongly opposing the GO on granting of licences to bars in proportion to the State population, members of the city unit of the All India Democratic Women's Association (AIDWA) demanded that the government withdraw its move.

AIDWA leaders led by State secretary K. Swarupa Rani and city secretary K. Sridevi staged a demonstration at the sub-collector's office, where they destroyed a few bottles of liquor in a symbolic protest.

They said there had been a steady rise in the number of people consuming alcohol in the State, thanks to the sanctioning of a large number of liquor licences.

The whole exercise was meant to achieve the targeted revenue of Rs. 20,000 crores by the Excise Department this year as against Rs. 12,000 crores last year.

Alleging that the tender process itself had fetched the government revenue to the tune of Rs.7,050 crores, AIDWA leaders said that the norms were being thrown to the winds while granting permission to set up liquor outlets. Several villages in the State did not have a school, a primary health centre or even a fair price shop.

Instead of addressing the basic needs of the people at the grassroots level, the State government was more bothered about filling up its coffers by converting the State into a ‘Madhyandhra Pradesh'.

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