Liquor ban successful in Chanda, claims Bawankule

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 11 Jul 2018 09:23:02


Staff Reporter,

Chandrashekhar Bawankule, State Excise Minister, rejected the demand of total liquor prohibition without giving any explanation. In similar vein the Minister also rejected any proposal for withdrawal of liquor ban in districts of Wardha, Chandrapur and Gadchiroli in Vidarbha Region.

Bawankule urged law makers in Legislative Assembly on Tuesday to take steps for creation of Gram Rakshak Dal. The rules framed for Dal is quite stringent and has power to curb illicit liquor trade in rural parts of the State. While replying to a calling attention motion moved by Vijay Wadettiwar of Congress, the Minister said prohibition is a success in Chandrapur district.

The statistics showing high number of arrests and seizure of liquor itself is indication of strong enforcement of prohibition in Chandrapur district to which the question belonged.

Wadettiwar said prohibition that started from April 2015 has failed in Chandrapur district owing to rampant smuggling of liquor from border districts of neighbouring State and it is hitting the very fabric of society. Youths have taken a big way to banned substance whose seizure in Chanda indicates total wrong decision by State Government vis-a-vis prohibition. Though one cannot oppose prohibition but why limit it to Chandrapur only as it defeats the purpose when one can easily source it from border district where liquor flows freely.

Even the enforcement agencies failed to stop flow of liquor into Chandrapur district, which has about 2.5 lakh workers population. There is no denying that people do want liquor and in view of ban they tend to illicit liquor that more often turned out to be lethal potion that killed many, he further said.

The district has 20 coal mines, five cement industries, and other units and therefore all this multi cultural society exists in the district. Wadetiiwar also accused police machinery of hand in glove with liquor smugglers and say going rate for PI in Rs 20 lakh and asked what steps do State is thinking of taking to make prohibition more effective in district, he asked.

Adding to his reply, Bawankule said State intervened and announced prohibition in Chandrapur as there was demand from local organisation. Gram Panchayat too sent a resolution for the same, 588 GPs out of 847 was in favour of prohibition and hence Chandrapur was given status of dry district. Several members of the House intervened and pilloried State for its failure to enforce prohibition in Chandrapur. Senior member, Ajit Pawar said State should not pressurise MLAs for raising Gram Rakshak Dal. The State needs to plug the gaps and ensure rule of law prevails. In fact, it is seen that more stringent the laws are made, the demand for bribe to increases proportionately from enforcement officials, he said and pressed for action against officials who fail the prohibition.

Bawankule said apart from enforcement State Government will create awareness among citizens and admitted that smuggling from border area is rampant. Hence, he said, Gram Rakshak Dal can play a very significant role in curbing free flow of liquor as police are bound to act on former’s complaint. Police have to take action within 12 hours of receipt of complaint about illicit liquor and failure would mean they are liable for penal action. He also announced in House that a committee will be formed to study into prohibition in Chandrapur district and suggest measures that can be taken to make it foolproof.