YSR Cong demands prohibition of liquor

Close on the heels of Bihar’s liquor ban, the opposition YSR Congress Party in Andhra Pradesh has called for total prohibition in the state.

“For decades, prohibition has been successful in Gujarat. Recently, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has announced liquor ban (from April next year). Why can’t our Chief Minister (N Chandrababu Naidu) take similar initiative?” YSR Congress president YS Jagan Mohan Reddy asked.

The opposition leader’s call for total prohibition in AP comes a day after the hooch tragedy in Vijayawada that killed five persons and left some others battling for life. He was talking to reporters after visiting a government hospital in Vijayawada where the victims were undergoing treatment.

Jagan, an industrialist-turned politician who is facing disproportionate assets case, accused the Telugu Desam Party government of treating liquor trade as a mere money spinner.

"The policy of the current government to set targets for selling liquor leads to corruption and sales of spurious liquor. In a bid to meet the sales target, wine shops are allowed to stay open round-the-clock and they in turn allow unauthorised shops to function," he said.

Jagan, son of former AP Chief Minister late YS Rajasekhar Reddy, said his party would impose total prohibition if elected to power in the next Assembly elections scheduled in 2019. “We will do it in the interest of the poor and women," he said.

In 2014-15, total liquor sales in Andhra Pradesh stood at Rs 6,632 crore while it has already crossed Rs 7,050 crore in the current financial year. "The volume of sales is evidence that the state government is keen on supporting liquor trade," Jagan said.

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