According to media reports, the Bhupesh Baghel government of Chhattisgarh will soon be implementing a complete ban on the consumption of alcohol in the state. Earlier, the Congress government of the state rejected the report of the 11-member committee constituted in order to study the effects of the liquor ban during the previous Raman Singh government. Calling the findings as “Impractical” the Congress government has now decided to create a new team that will look into the impact of prohibition in the state.
The previous state government under Raman Singh formed an 11-member committee to study the prospects of liquor ban and its sale in the state under government supervision. The committee was comprised of MPs, MLAs and various social activists. Now, the decision of the newly elected Congress government to conduct the survey from scratch is nothing but a “glorious” wastage of time and resources.
After studying for more than a year, the panel submitted a report, which stated, “After the study of excise policy of several states it was concluded that it will not be appropriate to fully adopt any of them in case of Chhattisgarh because this state has a different geographical, social and economic status”. “In view of the facts, it will be appropriate to decrease the consumption of liquor in the state,” the report further stated.
It is clear from the report that the liquor ban in the state will have an adverse effect as there are a lot of consequences to look into. There is a high probability of an increase in black marketing of alcohol as the state suffers from Naxal problems. Not only that, the economy of state will surely go down as the state’s coffers already bear the burden of farm loan waiver.
The committee report suggested a number of measures to curb down the liquor consumption. One of them includes hiking the price of alcohol so that the consumption gets reduced by a substantial amount. The state should also emphasize in order to make a special effort to reduce the consumption of liquor by spreading public awareness and a budgetary provision should be made for this, the report said.
On contrary, Food and Civil Supply Minister of Chhattisgarh, Mohammad Akbar said that the report submitted by a study team of Commercial Tax (Excise) department on banning liquor is impractical. The decision was taken at a cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel at Mantralaya, Atal Nagar, he added.
Earlier, the Congress party in its manifesto promised for a complete ban on alcohol in the state and CM Baghel stated that he was committed towards it. But in order to do so, the Congress government has to foresee the economic condition of the state to fulfill its promise.
Banning of liquor in the state is a petty decision of the Congress government. The state Congress may pat its back by banning liquor but ultimately the people of the state will have to suffer its consequence in the long run. After coming to power, Congress party seems to be in hurry to implement all the promises during the election campaign without considering the repercussions. Whether it is the half-hearted attempt of implementing farmer loan waiver (with strings attached of course) or appointing the “favorable” officers at influential posts, the Congress party is trying to push the state back to the ‘golden’ era of Digvijaya Singh.