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All party meet calls for protest at liquor auction centers
Lamenting over the lack of response form the government over the repeated representations from the civil society, seeking regularization of liquor sales and closure of all belt shops, activists appealed the leaders of all political parties to come openly keeping away their party interests seeking to regulate liquor sales in the state.

AN ALL-party meeting convened by Association for Promoting Social Action (APSA) and Forum for Liquor Regulation Agitation (FLRA) has decided to organize protests in Andhra Pradesh on June 26, against government’s excise policy. On this day, the government announced to conduct lotteries all over the state to allocate liquor shops among those who applied. The government has decided to re-introduce lottery system canceling present system of conducting open auctions.

The main grounds for the protest include that the government only should conduct liquor retail business on the lines the governments of Delhi and Kerala are doing and it should close all existing unauthorized belt shops. They have decided to organize protests at all the places where government is proposing to conduct lotteries.

It was also decided to meet governer soon along with the all party delegation seeking his intervention for a modification in the government’s excise policy and to close all belt shops. All the political parties also urged the government to ensure closure of all liquor shops in the state during the period of all elections from panchayt raj to assembly and lok sabha, from the date of poll notification to polling.

Inaugurating the meeting, former chief justice of Allahabad High Court and president of the forum Justice Ambati Lakshmana Rao expressed concern that the government’s new excise policy was intended to ensure higher revenue to the government. He lamented over the lack of response form the government over the repeated representations from the civil society seeking regularization of liquor sales and closure of all belt shops. He appealed the leaders of all political parties to come openly keeping away their party interests seeking to regulate liquor sales in the state.

State BJP President G Kishan Reddy deplored that liquor has turned a menace dangerous than HIV/AIDS. He disputed with the contention of the state government that it can not afford to lose liquor revenue as it need to invest heavy amounts on welfare programmes. He recalled that without a rupee revenue from liquor the Gujarat government is succeeding in keeping the state on development path. He lamented that the government is surrendering before liquor lobby.

Former minister and Telugu Desam party senior leader Mandava Venkateswara Rao wondered that why the government is not responding to the view of all political parties that the government itself should conduct liquor retail business. The government liquor policy seems to be encouraging liquor shops.

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