Bhubaneswar: The opposition BJP and Congress have criticised the Odisha government’s decision to allow sale of liquor on the eve of New Year till 1.00 am.
A notification of Excise department said: “Government… in exercise of powers conferred… have been pleased to relax the selling hour for IMFL ‘ON’ shops and bars operating in Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation, Cuttack Municipal Corporation, and Puri Municipality areas on the eve of December 31, 2019 night (New Year Eve) up to 1.00am of 01.01.2020 in public interest.”
Senior BJP leader and Union Minister Pratap Sarangi said the government’s act of relaxing the selling hour of liquor will encourage the people to consume more alcohol.
“Our efforts all along should be to restrict liquor consumption and not encourage it. It is a wrong decision to open liquor shops and bars till 1.00 am in the night in the name of New Year celebration,” Sarangi said. He also pointed out that government is yet to remove a large number of liquor shops located close to schools and temples.
Congress MLA SS Saluja said: “Opening liquor shops till late in the night will certainly encourage people to drink more alcohol. The officials who took this decision should be taken to task if anyone dies of accident by consuming alcohol.”
Defending the government’s decision Excise Minister Niranjan Pujari said: “The relaxation is just for one event and one day. It has been taken keeping in view the public interest.”
PNN & Agencies