Decision on liquor price hike may be reviewed

Decision on liquor price hike may be reviewed

Excise Minister Satish Jarkiholi said on Saturday that Chief Minister Siddaramaiah had instructed all his ministerial colleagues to review decisions taken by the BJP government, just before the poll code of conduct came into effect.

Speaking to reporters, the minister said the previous government had increased the prices of liquor just a few months before demitting office. Even this decision would be reviewed, the minister said.

The Excise department contributes to the government not less than Rs 12,000 crore in the form of duty. Of this, at least one per cent should come to the department as grants. There is a shortage of not less than 2,500 personnel in the department. The process to recruit 200 excise inspectors had begun, he said.

There is no proposal to allow sale of arrack and make available cheap liquor. In 80 villages of Bijapur, Bagalkot, Gadag and Belgaum, illicit liquor units are still functioning.
The State will be made free of illicit liquor by rehabilitating those who are into this business, he said.

A meeting of leaders of all political party would be convened to discuss the demand for new liquor shops and also to stop illegal sale of liquor in rural areas. The chief minister would chair the meeting, he said.

All liquor shops will be made to display the prices of liquor as there are complaints that liquor is being sold at more than the prescribed rates, Jarkiholi said.

Extension for CS?

Noting that the previous regime had taken certain decisions in haste, just before the elections, Siddaramaiah said all decisions would not be scrapped.

“When we review the decisions by the previous government, some projects and proposals may survive,” he said.

On rumours that the government may extend the tenure of Chief Secretary S V Ranganath, the chief minister said he was yet to take a decision on the matter.

“The Cabinet has authorised me to take a decision. I am yet to decide whether to replace him or extend his tenure for a few more months,” he said.