VIJAYAWADA: Stressing the need for transforming Andhra Pradesh into a liquor-free State, members of Madya Vimochana Prachara Committee (MVPC) have urged the officials concerned to strengthen surveillance in Agency areas and set up inter-State check posts to check illegal production and transportation of ganja and arrack.
The maiden meeting of the committee was held at the Prohibition and Excise Commissioner’s office in the city here on Tuesday. Speaking to the media after the meet, committee chairman V Lakshmana Reddy said the sale of Indian Manufactured Liquor (IML) has decreased by 24.32 per cent and 55 per cent in case of beer during October and November this year as compared to last year’s figures for the same period.
“The number of liquor shops has come down from 4,380 to 3,500 post implementation of the new liquor policy on October 1. Also, their operating times have been reduced and can only conduct business between 11 am to 8 pm,” he added.
Elaborating further, Reddy said the State government has allocated Rs 3.75 crore for the current fiscal to meet expenditure incurred towards campaigning against ill effects of liquor consumption.
“Under the initiative, the committee is planning to create awareness among public through short films, designing posters and hoardings highlighting the ill effects of liquor consumption. We are requesting the government to establish deaddiction centres in every district headquarter in association with the teaching hospitals. Necessary assistance will be taken from self help groups and village, ward volunteers for campaigning to sensitise the public about ill effects of liquor,’’ the chairman informed.
Listing out the activities planned by the committee, Reddy said the committee members will conduct a study in Gujarat, Bihar and Mizoram, where liquor ban is being effectively implemented and replicate the procedure in the State.
Plans are also under consideration to invite experts like Medha Patkar and Swami Agnivesh to educate students and youth about the harm caused to their health if they consume liquor, he said, adding that filmmakers should also extend their support by refraining from consuming liquor on the silver screen as youth have the tendency to ape these practices.
Prohibition and excise enforcement director P Hari Kumar has called upon citizens to make use of the toll free numbers, 14500 and 1800-425-4868 (Commissioner of Prohibition and Excise) to lodge complaints pertaining to illegal transportation of liquor and production of ganja and arrack in their surroundings. He further said that coordination will be improved with other departments by strengthening enforcement and surveillance in Agency areas, where ganja is cultivated and transported illegally.