Goa CM promises comprehensive alcohol policy for State

September 17, 2014 03:13 pm | Updated 03:13 pm IST - PANAJI

Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar has informed that a comprehensive alcohol policy will be formulated by the year-end for the coastal tourist state.

Mr. Parrikar gave this assurance to Goa women’s organisations who are spearheading the “Roll Back Bar timing Campaign”, when they called on him early this week.

“In a meeting held with the Chief Minister, these groups had broached the issue of formulation of alcohol policy by consulting all stake-holders before the tourism season begins,” Sabina Martins of Bailaancho

Saad, women’s collective, who led the delegation, told The Hindu on Wednesday.

Representatives of several women’s organisations met Mr. Parrikar and submitted a memorandum reiterating their pending demand to roll back the bar timings to 11pm, which were increased to 4 am some time back.

The Chief Minister stated he had rolled back the timing and no bar licences were given with timings from 1am to 4am.

The delegation confronted him with information obtained under RTI revealed that licenses were issued for 4am bars and there was no notification to withdraw the original March 28, 2014 notification allowing bar timings of 4 am.

Mr. Parrikar conceded and stated that once the alcohol policy is formulated, the notification will come. As of now he has instructed not to issue bar licenses allowing timings from 1am to 4am.

The women’s groups impressed upon the Chief Minister, who also holds Home portfolio, the need to take firm steps to prevent violence against women, especially in the wake of alcoholism. They requested him to direct police to take men under preventive detention, when women complained of violence under influence of alcohol on helpline numbers of 100,1091, or 1098. They should be kept till they sobered down.

They suggested government to take assistance from counsellors and NGOs such as Alcoholic Anonymous to motivate alcoholics to go for rehabilitation. If violence is repeated, cognizable offences should be registered.

The Chief Minister agreed to issue general instructions to take alcoholics in detention till they are sobered. Delegation suggested use of alcohol meters the way drunk driving is dealt with. The groups have been campaigning against liberal alcohol availability in the name of tourism as the number of deaths by liver cirrhosis and domestic violence due to liquor abuse, have been on rise. The groups had threatened State-wide agitation against extended timings of liquor outlets.

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