February 16, 2017 6:09:41 pm
The Raman Singh government of Chhattisgarh has decided to constitute a committee on the prospects of banning liquor in the state. The panel, to be headed by Excise Secretary, will also study if a system can be evolved for selling liquor through state-owned outlets. In its meeting held on Wednesday, the state Cabinet approved a new ‘Excise Policy’ whose implementation is aimed at putting a check on the illegal sale of liquor by middleman and agents. Chief Minister Raman Singh chaired the meeting. “The government will establish the eleven-member committee under the chairmanship of Excise Secretary to study the prospects of bringing the sale of liquor under the supervision of government and also about the prospects of banning liquor,” a government PRO said on Thursday.
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The proposed panel will consist of members of state government, social service organisations besides members of public. “The committee will visit and study three States where total liquor prohibition is implemented,” Excise department Secretary Ashok Agrawal told PTI. He said the panel members will also tour three other States where liquor is sold under supervision of respective governments. “The committee will submit its report within next three months,” he added.
Agrawal said the government had also decided to strengthen ‘Bharat Mata Vahini’- the organisation working towards liquor prohibition in the state. The Cabinet also decided against holding auctions for liquor outlet licenses in accordance with new Excise Policy for financial year 2017-18. There are currently 712 liquor shops in the state.
Notably, last month, the government had approved Chhattisgarh Excise (Amendment) Ordinance 2017, and sent it to Governor for approval. Under the ordinance, the government would constitute a public sector undertaking to facilitate the sale of both foreign and Indian liquor through government outlets keeping in view the revenues and the general health condition of the masses, the government PRO said.
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