Minister for State Excise Chandrashekhar Bawankule told the Legislative Council that there has been a 10-fold increase in illegal liquor trade in the state.
Replying to the debate on a calling attention notice moved by Prakash Gajbhiye (NCP) and others, the minister further admitted there was “utter discord” among the officials of the Excise department.
Raising the debate on his motion, Gajbhiye wanted the government to announce total prohibition of liquor in the state.
He said that liquor was damaging the lives of students and women in particular.
Responding to Gajbhiye, Bawankule said the Andhra Pradesh government had to withdraw its prohibition within two years.
“There has been a 10-fold rise in trade of illegal liquor volume in the state. When the government tries to enforce prohibition in a region it gives rise to illegal trade of liquor,” he said.
The minister said a portion of the revenue generated from sale of liquor shall be used to fund public awareness campaign against harmful effects of liquor consumption.
Replying to the query on increasing number of dry days, he said district Collectors have been empowered to decide on declaring dry days depending on the local situation.
To another query from Congress MLC Chandrakant Raghuvanshi, Bawankule assured the House that the government will strengthen border check posts along the state borders with Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat.
State finance minister had ruled out a blanket ban in Maharashtra but said it may adopt the Tamil Nadu pattern of disallowing sale of country made liquor.
He had also asserted that liquor sales generate an income of around Rs. 13,000 crore annually.
Social activist Anna Hazare had also recently met Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and submitted a letter demanding liquor prohibition in Maharashtra while blaming alcoholism as one of the major cause for the brutal rape of a minor in Kopardi, Ahmednagar.