Mumbai: The Congress party has slammed BJP for its criticism over the state government’s decision to withdraw liquor ban in Chandrapur district in Vidarbha region. Terming BJP 'Team Malpani,' the Congress has said BJP's outburst is obvious because the contracts allegedly given with its blessings to liquor smugglers have now been cancelled.
Relief and Rehabilitation Minister Vijay Wadettiwar, who is also the Chandrapur district guardian minister, said these contracts will not be revived again. He asked the former CM Devendra Fadnavis to respect the sentiments of the people and stop opposing the government decision for the sake of opposition. The minister announced that the government will lift liquor ban from the Gadchiroli district also.
The Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee chief spokesman Sachin Sawant said BJP is a party with double standards. "Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis had supported lifting the liquor ban in Chandrapur district during his speech in the budget session of the state legislature. Fadnavis had said the corporatisation of illicit liquor in Chandrapur was done though leaders and Sudhir Mungantiwar may have regretted the decision to impose the ban during his tenure as the minister. Fadnavis had also said he had a tariff card of illegal liquor with him and he had further stated that these people who were involved in illegal liquor sale would not allow the MVA government to lift the ban,’’ said Sawant. He demanded that the BJP should explain how much money it gets from illegal liquor sales.
The state cabinet on Thursday approved the lifting of liquor ban in Chandrapur district, Vidarbha region. It has been taken to curb the illegal sale of liquor and increased crime in the district which was earlier impacted by Naxal menace. The ban was imposed by the BJP led government from April 1, 2015.
The then state excise minister had promised to appoint a committee during the debate in the Assembly in July 2018 in connection with the ban. Accordingly, a committee was appointed under the chairmanship of retired former Principal Secretary Ramanath Jha and its report was submitted to the Government on March 9, 2021. The committee was asked to study the social and economic impact of the liquor ban and took into account the views of social organisations and people representatives on the issue.