1.30 am deadline on New Year's Eve leaves govt divided

While Social Justice Minister Shivajirao Moghe has said that extending the time would encourage addictions, Home Minister RR Patil wishes to relax the deadline so as to maximise revenue

It seems that the 1.30 am deadline on New Year’s Eve, which has left many fuming, also has divided the state government. While many in the government have asked the police to relax their rule, there are some who support the deadline.

This year, the Mumbai police has demanded that all hotels shut down all parties by 1.30 am rather than the usual 5 am deadline, citing a law and order situation. File pic

One of those supporting the 1.30 am cut-off is Shivajirao Moghe, the Minister for Social Justice. Moghe has backed the police’s decision and even wrote to Home Minister RR Patil expressing his reservations about extending the deadline. “I spoke to RR Patil and expressed my reservations. But, he said that these celebrations have been going on for the last 20 years,” said Moghe to MiD DAY.

In fact, Moghe’s department of de-addiction activities also issued a circular in print media asking people to stay away from alcohol and other addictions on New Year’s Eve. However, the home department’s idea to relax the deadline has angered Moghe. He added, “I have told R R Patil that we should break the practice (of extending the time limit) now, as the addiction is ruining the lives of youngsters and disturbing families.”

Moghe added that when he asked state excise minister Ganesh Naik the reason for the relaxation, the latter did not know the reason. But, while Moghe is adamant that the deadline is not extended, sources say the reason for others to insist on the deadline being relaxed are purely monetary. Sources said that this was the time that the government raked in maximum revenue. In fact, the excise department has set a target of Rs 8,500 crore, for which it was necessary that the deadline be relaxed.

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