Nagpur: The State Excise Minister Chandrashekhar Bawankule on Tuesday ruled out liquor ban in entire State. He also forcibly reiterated that prohibition enforced in Chandrapur district would not be revoked.
The Minister was speaking in Legislative Assembly on the call attention notice raised by Congress member Vijay Vadettiwar. Huge quantity of liquor is available in Chandrapur district as liquor is brought from outside Maharashtra and sold in the district. “Yesterday only, a stock of liquor worth Rs 1.34 crore was seized in the district,” Vadettiwar drew attention of the House.
Bawankule said that the government will consider strict action against those involved in making and selling illegal liquor, by imposing the Maharashtra Prevention of Dangerous Activities (MDPA) Act against them. The government, the Minister said, is also mulling making punishment under MPDA harsher for such offenders. At present, there is prohibition on liquor in three districts — Chandrapur, Bhandara and Gadchiroli — and there has been a growing demand for a complete ban on liquor for many years.
The demand was revived in the Upper House of the State Legislature by NCP legislator Prakash Gajbhiye. He said the youth have destroyed their lives because of addiction to liquor. Many families have been destroyed, raising the demand from women for a complete ban. But the government said it is “impossible to impose a blanket ban on liquor as the state gets Rs 13,500 crore as excise”.
The minister said a complete ban on liquor cannot be a solution to the problem, but the government is serious about curbing illegal sale of liquor. “We are considering imposing MPDA on three-time offenders of illegal liquor sale. The government is also deliberating to make punishment for such acts under MPDA harsher,” Bawankule told the Upper House.
In Chandrapur district, liquor stock worth Rs 24.64 crore has been seized while in Wardha district, Rs 18.96 crore worth liquor stock is seized. Similarly, liquor worth Rs 8.85 crore has been seized. In the year 2017-18, total 25898 accused have been arrested in the three districts collectively.