Hazare seeks total prohibition in Maharashtra

Mumbai, July 27 (IANS) Veteran Gandhian Anna Hazare on Wednesday reiterated his demand for “total prohibition” in Maharashtra and urged the government to set up a “gram suraksha dal (village protection force)” to combat problems arising out of alcoholism.

He met Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and asked him to consider setting up such a village force in rural areas comprising members from the local villages.

“Fadnavis was positive to the suggestion and said he would come out with a draft bill on the issue soon. Let the government work on it and take a decision,” Hazare told media persons later.

Elaborating, he said currently there are several issues like jurisdiction of the state excise department and the police machinery which lack coordination and “most times they pass the responsibility to each other”.

Here, the village force would find the illegal liquor joints, bust them, make a ‘panchanama’ (initial situation report), then inform the excise department to seize the liquor and call police to lodge the cases, he explained.

Hazare also blamed increasing liquor consumption for the growing number of road accidents and other evils.

Citing the example of his native Ralegan-Siddhi village, he said 20 years ago there were 40 liquor distillation plants which were removed with public support and now nobody in the village drinks or consumes tobacco.

“If the people display a strong will and the government supports them, it is possible to implement total prohibition and make it a liquor-free state,” Hazare said.

–IANS

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