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No rush when vends reopened in Haryana because illegal liquor sale continued during lockdown: Congress

Hooda said he has been saying that the opposition will extend full cooperation to the government in its fight against the coronavirus, but it cannot support them if they take "anti-people decisions".

Published: 11th May 2020 05:26 PM  |   Last Updated: 11th May 2020 05:26 PM   |  A+A-

Former Haryana CM Bhupinder Singh Hooda

Former Haryana CM Bhupinder Singh Hooda (File Photo | PTI)

By PTI

CHANDIGARH: Senior Congress leader Bhupinder Singh Hooda on Monday claimed that liquor was illegally being sold in Haryana during lockdown and hence there was no rush when its sale was allowed on May 6.

"When liquor vends opened in other states like Delhi, UP, Chhattisgarh, there were long queues and vends at some places had to be closed.

"But no such scene was witnessed in Haryana and the reason for this was that liquor smuggling was going on and liquor was being illegally sold during lockdown," he said.

The former chief minister said it was a "serious issue" and the government should thoroughly probe it.

During a video conference with reporters, Hooda, the leader of the opposition, was also asked about the huge stock of liquor missing from a godown in Sonipat and the SIT probe ordered by the state government.

Asked if a liquor scam has taken place under political patronage, he said, "I cannot hold anyone guilty or innocent, this is for the SIT to probe."

"But if it is felt that the SIT cannot probe it, then this matter should be probed by a sitting judge of the high court," he added.

On the recently announced 'Mera Pani Meri Virasat' crop diversification scheme by Haryana government, Hooda said it was not a right move as it would deprive a large number of farmers from cultivating the paddy crop.

He said farmers are already facing a lot of hardship due to lockdown and it was not the right time to "experiment" with schemes.

He said the Congress party was not against water conservation efforts of the government, but they cannot impose a decision on farmers without viable alternative.

He also demanded a rollback of the hike in bus fare and increase of VAT on diesel and petrol prices.

Hooda said he has been saying that the opposition will extend full cooperation to the government in its fight against the coronavirus, but it cannot support them if they take "anti-people decisions".

"I am of the belief that we can move ahead and resolve things with dialogue, the government must also not take any major decision without consultation," Hooda said.

He maintained that in a recent all-party meeting with the chief minister on the COVID situation he had said that the state can borrow to provide relief to the poor, farmers, daily wagers.

"I said government can borrow but it should not burden common sections - If they have to impose tax they can impose on super rich, but they should not burden sections like daily wagers, common people, farmers," he said.

On ongoing wheat procurement, he said the lifting process was going on at a "snail's pace" and so far procurement of only 57 lakh metric tonne has been made, out of which only 29 LMT has been lifted from the mandis.

"I had suggested to the government that as schools and colleges were unlikely to reopen before July-August, so their buildings should be made temporary storage places," he said.

Mustard procurement so far was also slow, he said, adding at some places farmers had to dispose of their crop by resorting to distress sale.

Asked to comment on Congress leader Rahul Gandhi demanding audit of the PM-CARES Fund, saying the account of money received and spent be made public, he said "when we fight battle against COVID, these questions are bound to be raised".

However, when asked whether he agrees with what Gandhi said, Hooda, who did not specifically comment on what his party leader has demanded, and speaking generally, said, "I am not of this thought that any controversy should be raised today. But I do say that tomorrow they (government) will have to give account."

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