112 liquor shops closed in Maharashtra: Minister tells Council

Mumbai: Maharashtra Excise Minister Dilip Kamble today said a total of 112 liquor shops have been closed in various districts following complaints against their functioning.

To a demand raised by MLC Vinayak Mete, Kamble replied over the calling attention motion in the Legislative Council  that the government will take action based on reports of local Gram Panchayats submitted with the district collector's office in this regard.

Mete demanded that alcohol be banned in Buldhana district as its consumption has seen a rise of 15-20 per cent in recent times.

"Alcohol consumption, mostly in children, has gone up by 15-20 per cent in Buldhana. To stop crimes and to ensure safety of women, banning the consumption of alcohol is necessary," Mete said.

He said there are 45 bars in the district which are registered in the name of women. "All these licenses should be cancelled immediately," Mete said.

In his reply, Kamble said there is no such law under which licenses of women owners of liquor shops could be cancelled and the state government treats both sexes equally, thus the question of revoking the licenses does not arise.

"To cancel a license in a certain district, 25 per cent of women have to file a complaint against it to district officials. Then the collector verifies the authenticity of complaints and then this proposal is put to vote. If at least 52 per cent women vote against the sale of alcohol, it is then banned," Kamble said.

Meanwhile, Shiv Sena MLC Neelam Gorhe countered Kamble's statement saying there are reports from some districts wherein despite more than 25 per cent of women seeking ban on alcohol the officials have failed to take cognisance.

To this, Kamble said a total of 112 shops have been closed based on complaints received to district collectors. "If and when we receive more complaints, action will certainly be taken," the minister said.

Maharashtra Government recently banned sale and consumption of liquor in Chandrapur district in Vidarbha region.

Chandrapur became the third 'dry' district after neighbouring Wardha and Gadchiroli, also in east Maharashtra, where liquor prohibition is brought in.

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