Telangana drops move to introduce cheap liquor

Hyderabad, Sep 2 (IANS) Bowing to pressure from the opposition and women’s organisations, the Telangana government on Wednesday withdrew its proposed cheap liquor policy.

The state cabinet took the decision to continue with the existing policy.

Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao told reporters that since there was difference of opinion in the society over the proposed cheap liquor policy, it was decided to continue with the existing excise policy.

The chief minister, however, said the government would deal firmly with the menace of ‘gudamba’ (arrack) as it was playing havoc with the lives of people. He said an officer of the rank of inspector general of police will be appointed to control ‘gudamba’.

“If necessary, PD (preventive detention) Act will be used against the gudamba traders,” he said.

The TRS government had mooted bottled cheap liquor as an alternative to arrack and was planning to implement the new policy from October 1.

However, it evoked strong reaction from the opposition and people’s organisations especially women’s groups, who alleged that the government was trying its fill its coffers by selling cheap liquor without bothering about its serious social and financial consequences for the poor.

The opposition parties and other groups had even formed a steering committee to launch a united struggle against the proposed policy.

The chief minister told reporters that the cabinet also decided to constitute a four-member committee to submit a report on carving out new districts.

Stating that reorganisation of districts was necessary, KCR pointed out that Telangana has one district for a population of 35 lakh against the country average of one district for every 19 lakh population.

Telangana currently has 10 districts for a population of 3.6 crore.

The cabinet also decided to implement the double bedroom housing scheme for poor.

KCR said the government would build 60,000 houses in the first year at a cost of Rs.3,900 crore.

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