Uttarakhand CM goes easy on liquor ban

Dehradun (Uttarakhand) [India] Apr 18 (ANI): Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat on Tuesday issued an order that under new rules liquor shops will stay open from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m.

The Chief Minister earlier on April 2 said that he would not follow Bihar's model in banning alcohol, adding he would rather adopt a more inclusive approach to stop the people from consuming liquor as the outcome in several states has not been positive so far.

His remarks came when he was asked as to how his government will tackle the burgeoning revenue deficit and his government's stand on banning alcohol.

"Although the financial situation of our state is worse, but I would like to say that we would not sell alcohol to better our revenues. We can see that the outcome has not been positive for the states which have stopped the sale and consumption of alcohol," Rawat told ANI.

Rawat said that his government would run a campaign to discourage the people from consuming alcohol.

"Hence our priority is to work with those organisations, which work to rehabilitate the people. We would run a campaign discouraging the people from consuming alcohol," he added.

He said that his government would work on a set of issues to increase revenue and improve employment in the state.

"Our first priority is zero tolerance towards corruption. But at the same time, the officials who will work with honesty will be awarded. Our second focus will be to bring employment and for that we have constituted a separate ministry. The third issue on which we will concentrate is health. We are not satisfied with the current health facilities and the major reason behind it is scarcity of doctors and soon we will recruit doctors. Moreover, we will also encourage and bring in generic medicines so that even the poor can afford treatment," he said.

"Our fourth issue is migration. As we know that the state borders China and Nepal with whom we share good relations. So, to curb migration we have constituted a committee. Our fifth issue is tourism. We have a lot of scope in the field of tourism. So, we will explore all aspects," he added.

The Uttarakhand Government earlier imposed a ban on sale of liquor in Uttarkashi, Chamoli and Rudraprayag districts from April 1 in the wake of Chardham Yatra.

The Nainital High Court had in September last year passed an order in this regard banning the "possession, distribution, collection, sale, purchase or consumption of liquor, including beer."

Besides liquor, the High Court also ordered to prohibit tobacco within five kilometers around Gurudwara Nanakmatta, Gurudwara Rita Sahib and Gurudwara Hemkund Sahib. (ANI)