The Madhya Pradesh government has come up with a new solution to curb consumption of liquor in rural areas. State Minister for Panchayat and Rural Development Gopal Bhargava has warned that people can lose their BPL status for spending money on liquor.
Those who spend Rs 50 or more daily on liquor dont qualify to be poor and can do without the largesse of subsidised food and other benefits, he said.
The ministers suggestion came in response to a demand by several women panchayat representatives in Vidisha district who want power to enforce prohibition,the way their counterparts in a few states do.
Bhargava said gram sabhas have the power to delete names of such ineligible persons from the BPL lists. In their campaign against liquor,the elected representatives can teach the men a lesson by getting their names struck off the poverty list,he said.
Spelling out the consequences of rising liquor consumption in their area,33 out of 49 women sarpanches in Vidisha block submitted a memorandum to district authorities while demanding that they be given powers to completely stop sale of liquor.
Social activist Sachin Jain was not impressed by the ministers suggestion saying locally brewed liquor is very cheap and its consumption cannot be used to determine poverty level.
While nobody can argue against the ill-effects of liquor consumption,he said,it was common for the government to use threats like these to discipline people in tribal and rural areas.