‘It has affected the livelihoods of those in the arrack business’

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Sunday said that the ban on arrack did not help curb alcoholism but it affected the livelihoods of those who were in the business.

Speaking at a convention organised by the Karnataka Pradesh Arya Idiga Sangha here on Sunday, he referred to the then Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa’s claim that he had wiped out tears of hundreds of women by banning arrack. “Has it really happened? People are spending more on alcohol these days,” he said. “While a packet of arrack was available for Rs. 12 and a person would have spent Rs. 24 a day for two packets and another Rs. 20 for snacks, he is now forced to spend over Rs. 100 on Indian made foreign liquor,” Mr. Siddaramaiah said.

The Chief Minister said that he had opposed the proposal when he was Deputy Chief Minister in the J.H. Patel Ministry and even asked the late Patel to present the budget himself if he wanted to ban arrack.

Mr. Siddaramaiah directed H. Anjaneya, Minister for Social Welfare, to come up with schemes through the Devaraj Urs Backward Classes Development Corporation to offer vocational training to those hit by the ban. He promised help for the Idiga community to set up students’ hostels and asked Vinay Kumar Sorake, Minister for Urban Development, to consider applications from the sangha for allotment of land.

Mr. Siddaramaiah urged the oppressed classes to get educated. “Only then one can achieve social and economic independence. Though the Constitution speaks about a secular State, it has not happened so far and it is not an easy task to achieve that either. Social inequality is persisting on the basis of caste system,” he said.

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