Ban all alcoholic beverages: Poojary

Staff Correspondent

‘Ban on arrack has impoverished the poor’

‘People who spent Rs. 10 are now spending Rs. 45’

MANGALORE: Flaying the former Chief Minister B.S Yeddyurappa for introducing ban on sale of arrack, Congress leader B. Janardhan Poojary has said that the ban reeked of hypocrisy.

Addressing a press conference in the city on Thursday, Mr. Poojary said: “The message sent to the poor people of this State is that you cannot drink intoxicants but rich people can.” He said that the ban had left the poor feeling betrayed and discriminated against.

“There are alcoholics even in the so called high society. In those circles also women and children suffer because of alcoholism of the men,” he said while advocating that there should be a blanket ban on sale of alcohol.

He pointed out that drinking had seen an unprecedented rise in the State after the ban was introduced. “The State Government has earned three times more revenues from the sale of liquor after the ban was introduced.”

Mr. Poojary even suggested that the ban might have been influenced by the liquor barons of the State. “They have made millions after the ban,” he said.

Claiming that the move had only pushed poverty ridden tipplers to buy costlier, bottled drinks, Mr. Janardhan Poojary said, “it is not okay to spend your money on arrack but it is alright for you to blow your money on rum and whiskey.” He said that people who earlier bought their drink for Rs. 10 were now buying it for Rs. 45. “It is pushing them deeper into poverty,” he said.

Expressing solidarity with women’s groups, he said that he was for the idea of making Karnataka a dry State.

Mr. Poojary felt that he had been misquoted in the media that he was advocating the sale of arrack. “All I am saying is that you should have a common yardstick for your policies. If other liquor is legalised then arrack should be legalised too,” he said.

“The ban only treats the symptom and not the cause,” he said and claimed that the real cause for people’s drinking problem was poverty and unemployment. He advocated the need for de-addiction centres to treat the problem of alcoholism.

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