MVA lifts liquor ban from Chandrapur in Vidarbha

MVA lifts liquor ban from Chandrapur in Vidarbha

The erstwhile BJP-led government of Devendra Fadnavis has banned liquor in the district from April 1, 2015

The decision was taken at the weekly Cabinet meeting presided over by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray. Representative Image. Credit: iStock Images

In what could snowball into a major political issue, the Maha Vikas Aghadi government on Thursday decided to lift prohibition from the Chandrapur district in the Vidarbha region of Maharashtra.

The decision was taken at the weekly Cabinet meeting presided over by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray. Relief and Rehabilitation Minister Vijay Wadettiwar, who is the Guardian Minister of Chandrapur, informed that the liquor ban in the district is being lifted.

The erstwhile BJP-led government of Devendra Fadnavis has banned liquor in the district on April 1, 2015.  

After public representations, senior BJP leader and the then Finance Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar had rooted for the ban. Chandrapur became the third district of the state to prohibit liquor after Wardha and Gadchiroli, both in the Vidarbha region.

There is prohibition in Wardha because of its close connections with Mahatma Gandhi (he had stayed in the Sevagram Ashram for several years) and Gadchiroli because of public demand in the Maoist-hit district since 1992.

After the ban, the then BJP-Shiv Sena government had assured to appoint a committee to study the issue following a discussion in the state assembly in July 2018.

The MVA government in January 2021, set up a 13-member expert committee, headed by retired Principal Secretary Ramanath Jha which submitted its report on March 9, 2021.

According to the findings of the Jha Committee, the implementation of the ban has been largely unsuccessful and illegal liquor and counterfeit liquor are becoming available on the black market in the district. The ban has also increased the black market of liquor. The spurious liquor was also affecting the health.

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