Telangana government in a fix over new liquor policy
Telangana chief minister KCR is in a fix over the new liquor policy, with retail traders complaining that the proposals favour liquor syndicates that facilitate sale of illicitly distilled (ID) and adulterated liquor.
Traders are also complaining how ID and adulterated liquor are flowing freely even in licenced toddy outlets being run by traders from the politically-influential Goud community.
It would be difficult for KCR to go tough on the toddy-tapping community, which accounts for over nine per cent of the electorate, the CM has proposed in the new liquor policy to plant over 5 crore palm trees across the state.
Toddy is prepared from the sap of the palm trees and the rationale behind the move is that adequate supply of pure toddy would help curb the ID liquor menace.
The move, however, has sparked a row. “We expect some stringent steps to effectively curb syndicates operating the ID liquor racket. The proposal to grow palm trees will only worsen the situation as the lack of supply of pure toddy will continue in the interim and there will be no control over the syndicates,” said D Venkateswar Rao, president of Telangana Wine Dealers’ Association.
Keeping his poll promise, KCR had lifted the ban on sale of toddy last year, and issued over 8,000 licenses. However, with no palm trees to generate toddy, the outlet owners, reportedly protected by the syndicates, started selling ID and adulterated liquor.Excise officials said there were instances where toddy outlet owners were adding intoxicants like chloral hydrate and diazepam to water and selling it in the name of toddy at Rs 15 per bottle.
Admitting that the ID liquor menace has reached alarming proportions in the state, excise commissioner R V Chandravadan said that the government was mulling introducing an `affordable liquor’ that can be sold on the lines of Maharashtra’s `desi daaru’ at the rate of Rs 15 per 90 ml.