January 28, 2015 1:56:35 am
Haryana’s tipplers are in for a hard time if the state government has its way. In a bid to discourage drinking, the Khattar government has decided to hire an agency to study drinking patterns in the state before it formulates a new excise policy.
Sources said the move is the brainchild of Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar and that the survey will help the government raise prices of select preferred alcohol which, the government hopes, will reduce drinking.
The state has already begun the search for an agency to conduct the survey.
Liquor in Haryana is cheaper than neighbouring states but successive governments have earned huge revenue in this sector.
The previous government collected around Rs 19,703 crore from liquor sales in 2012-13 against Rs 18,077 crore collected in 2011-12. Revenue was expected to rise this year.
The new government, however, is looking to curb drinking. It is also contemplating taking local bodies into confidence before allowing liquor shops in their areas.
The proposal, however, is being seen as another attempt to saffronise the state. It follows a number of decisions by the Education department that have been mired in controversy. On Tuesday, Education Minister Ram Bilas Sharma reiterated the government’s resolve to include a shloka from Bhagwad Gita into the school curriculum besides introducing Sanskrit.
The government has already sought names of prominent educationists who would be included in the proposed education consultative committee to be headed by educationist Dina Nath Batra. Sharma said he was in touch with Batra over constituting the committee that, he added, would propose drastic changes to the school curriculum “in sync with the country’s rich culture and heritage”.
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