Delhi will turn into liquor capital: Congress, BJP

Parties criticise new excise policy

The Congress and the BJP hit out at the AAP government over changes to the excise policy, announced by the Delhi government on Monday.

“Excise reforms announced today will act as a major blow to the liquor mafia in Delhi. The mafia will do everything to obstruct these reforms. AAP govt has ended mafia raj in many sectors like education, water, elect, health etc and we are committed to reforming this sector too,” Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said in a tweet.

Responding to the government’s decision to lower the legal drinking age from 25 to 21, and to privatise all liquor vends, the Delhi Congress said that the Capital was heading to become a “Nashe Ki Rajdhani (Capital of intoxication)”.

Delhi Congress chief Ch. Anil Kumar said that the move to privatise liquor vends will also open doors for spurious liquor. The Kejriwal government’s bid to mop up 20% more revenue from liquor sales from the present ₹6,000 crore to ₹7,500 crore, will be a retrograde step as this will lead the youth of the Capital astray.

“Instead of tightening the liquor policy to make the Capital safer for women and keep the youth away from substance abuse, the new excise policy will only bring ruin to the national capital, for the sake of a few crores more from excise revenue,” Mr. Kumar said.

Leader of the Opposition in Delhi Assembly and BJP MLA Ramvir Singh Bidhuri said the new policy was “wrong” and “arbitrary”. He said that it would turn Delhi into the “liquor capital” of the country and lead to a possible spike in crime rate.

On lowering drinking age, Mr. Bidhuri said it was an unfortunate decision and would have an adverse impact on the youth. “It is unfortunate that the Kejriwal government is putting revenue ahead of the lives of residents,” he said.

On the decision of ending government-run liquor vends, Mr. Bidhuri said, “Thousands of government employees are involved in liquor trade. The government must ensure that they are properly rehabilitated and no one is left jobless in such hard times.” BJP leaders will meet the L-G tomorrow, according to party sources.

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