ONGOLE: Considering the present financial position, though it was difficult to forfeit the income from liquor sales, the State government is committed to imposing complete prohibition in a phased manner, said Deputy Chief Minister and Minister of Excise and Commercial Taxes K Narayana Swamy on Friday.
The Deputy CM conducted a review meeting with the district excise department officials here at the DRDA- Velugu Conference hall on Friday and said the welfare of the public was a top priority of the government. Several public representatives along with officials attended the meeting.
Speaking on the occasion, Narayana Swamy said, all public representatives should extend their wholehearted support to the imposition of a phase-wise ban of liquor sale. Excise and Prohibition department district authorities should interact with field-level women and youth organisations and seek their cooperation for the liquor prohibition.
“We appeal to the media houses and heads of co-operating companies to come out in the support of the liquor ban. In particular, I sincerely request one media house head to cooperate, who had played a key role in encouraging agitations across the State in support of lifting the ban earlier,” the minister said.
He added, the district excise staff should work hard in creating awareness among tribal people, who have been practising toddy production and the field staff should be strict on local toddy makers as well as unauthorised liquor selling belt shops and their network.
“Towards the implementation of the prohibition on liquor, our government has decided to take over the sales of liquor and out of the total 4,380 shops across the State, we have closed around 780 shops (20 per cent) through the declining sanction of licences. Out of the remaining 3,500, the government has decided to run 450 shops on a pilot basis,” the minister said.
Among the 450, sales in 265 shops will be started from October 1. Remaining shops will be taken over by the excise department in a phased manner.
He suggested the officials make sure that all permitted liquor shops are set up away from religious places, educational institutions and hospitals. The minister also asked the officials to think about a publicity advertisement film on the bad impacts of drinking, like the film that is currently shown in movie theatres on the bad impacts of gutkha.