Minister retracts on mobile liquor vans

A day after proposing mobile vans to sell liquor as a measure to counter bootlegging, Excise Minister H Nagesh retracted Thursday fearing backlash from women’s groups fighting for liquor to be prohibited. 

“I was asked about the possibility of allowing ordering liquor online, to which I said there’s a permit system in Gujarat. I wasn’t aware of the rules fully, so I said we could look at that. There’s no proposal before the government to do so. I won’t allow that to happen. Liquor is easily available already,” Nagesh told reporters. 

“And in hamlets occupied by tribals where bootlegging is rampant, I’ve told officials to launch a campaign. There's no proposal of starting mobile units to sell liquor,” he said. “I want to apologise to women if they are hurt by my statements.” 

Nagesh’s retraction came amid speculation that he was taken to task by Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa for announcing mobile vans that would make availability of liquor easier. “No, the CM didn’t say anything. I wanted to clarify on my own volition,” Nagesh said.

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