Naidu says his party will include the issue in its election manifesto

Telugu Desam Party (TDP) president N. Chandrababu Naidu on Tuesday said his party would include the issue of controlling liquor sales through ban on belt (unauthorised) shops in its manifesto for the next elections.

He would ban belt shops by signing it as the second file after waiver of crop loans, if voted to power, Mr. Naidu vowed speaking at a meeting on controlling sale of liquor. Women had become the worst sufferers due to belt shops as availability of liquor in every nook and corner was having an adverse impact on their families’ economy.

Criticising Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy for keeping quiet on the issue of banning belt shops after announcing it, Mr. Naidu said it was not a political issue but a social one. He suggested complete ban on sale of liquor during the elections to reduce its impact on voters.

Congress representative and Chairman of 20-Point Programme Committee N. Thulasi Reddy said control on liquor sales and prohibition were not possible in the present socio-economic conditions. Only a policy decision at national-level could have some impact, he felt.

Alleging that governments were encouraging liquor sales by taking kickbacks from multinational liquor companies, State secretary of CPI K. Narayana said it was unfortunate that government was allowing liquor shops in the vicinity of religious places and educational institutions.

Former Union Home Secretary K. Padmanabhaiah blamed lack of coordination between the administration and political parties for failure of control on liquor sales. Nayani Narasimha Reddy of TRS suggested banning of leaders involved in liquor sales-scams from contesting elections.

Several other speakers suggested the government to rein in indiscriminate flow of liquor and introduction of fixed timings for its sale at the meeting chaired by V. Lakshmana Reddy, convenor of liquor control movement committee.