Outlets should be set up only after obtaining permission in gram sabha: Raghavulu

CPI(M) State secretary B.V. Raghavulu has demanded that a new excise policy, controlling the sale of liquor by reining in ‘belt' (unauthorised) shops, be introduced.

At a press conference here on Sunday, he said liquor shops should be set up only after obtaining the permission of the gram sabha, and the government should run the shops. The present raids in the name of liquor mafia was an exercise aimed at gaining political control and, if the government were really sincere, it should launch an investigation against 70 persons acting as mafia. Mr. Raghavulu was here to participate in the city plenum of the party.

Budget session

He hoped that the budget session of the Assembly would take up discussion reflecting the problems of people. He accused the ruling party of resorting to adjournments by provoking the main opposition and cautioned the latter against falling into the trap.

He said paying compensation to drought-hit farmers to prevent suicide should take priority. In January alone, 160 farmers committed suicide in the State, he said.

Also, a new policy on land use should be brought out and land allotted to corporates and those favourable to the ruling party should be withdrawn. A separate law should be brought out to give an independent status to the nodal agency to spend SC/ST sub-plan funds. Mr. Raghavulu warned of an agitation if the proposal to increase power tariff was not withdrawn, and said the government was planning to lift free power by introducing pre-paid cards.

The PRP-Congress merger was rewarded with the award of development of Bhavani Island near Vijayawada, he alleged. The grant of funds to 24 MLAs for constituency development was also part of the effort to save his government by the Chief Minister, he said.

Medicos' stir

On the agitation of junior doctors, he said while the government was denying increase in stipend to them, it had increased salaries for Ministers.