Stating that he doesn’t want revenue generated from the sale of alcohol, Manish Sisodia on Tuesday said that he was not opposed to prohibition — a complete ban on the sale and consumption of liquor — in the capital. He also said that most of the ministers in the AAP government were teetotalers. “Prohibition would be successful only if it was implemented across the country”, he added. The minister made the comments while responding to a query on the government’s excise policy during the second day of the Delhi Assembly’s monsoon session. He said the revised excise policy has been forwarded to Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung for approval.
According to an Indian Express report, Sisodia said if prohibition was implemented right now, the policy would not work as those who wanted to drink would end up procuring alcohol from neighbouring states. “Merely declaring a state as prohibition state is not a solution… then the financial benefit will be reaped by Haryana or other neighbouring states,” he added. Taking on the Haryana government over its liquor policy, the deputy chief minister said, “The opposition is talking about micro breweries… There is no account of the number of micro breweries in Gurgaon and Faridabad, and how they are running their businesses,” added Sisodia.
Earlier, BJP MLA Vijender Gupta accused the Delhi government of being responsible for the increasing number of liquor shops in the capital. Gupta and BJP MLA Jagdish Pradhan later staged a walkout to protest the AAP government’s ‘alcohol policy’. But Sisodia dismissed claims about the number of liquor shops having “doubled” in the capital, saying as per figures by the excise department, the government had given L6 licences for only six such additional shops.
“…The revenue collected by the excise department has increased because we have stopped leakages, not because we have increased the number of shops. I want my officials to find out how much stake politicians have in alcohol-related businesses, just like they have in private hospitals and private schools. As much as 50 per cent of the revenue ends up going to officials and politicians,” said Sisodia. Pointing out that as per the revised excise policy, permission from mohalla sabhas was needed to open a liquor shop in an area, Sisodia claimed no such shops would be set up in residential areas. “It is better if these shops are opened in air-conditioned malls,” said Sisodia.