Bhubaneswar: Milita Odisha Nisha Nibarana Abhiyan (MONNA) said Monday that it would protest against the decision of Bidhan Sabha Standing Committee on Excise to recommend opening of more Indian-Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) shops and even reward the highest liquor sellers after fulfilling the MGQ.
MONNA vice president Bijay Kumar Swain said, “In spite of our regular and repeated submissions to the Chief Minister on abolishing liquor sale for the past seven years, no tangible pro-active action has been taken by the government till date. On the other hand, to our surprise, while the nation as well as the state is getting ready to celebrate Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th birth anniversary, it is really painful to note that the Bidhan Sabha Standing Committee on Excise has recommended opening of more liquor shops.”
“We strongly condemn the action of the committee members where, apart from the ruling party, the Opposition and other party members are also part of the recommendation,” he added.
He said that looking at the best interest of the public in general and women and youth in particular, peaceful demonstration is the only way. “We have no option but to go for a peaceful demonstration in front of the Excise Minister Niranjan Pujari’s official residence Tuesday demanding immediate rejection of the committee’s recommendation,” he added.
Meanwhile, Odisha seems to be going the binge way as the per capita annual liquor consumption in the state has zoomed by a whopping 500 per cent in a decade-and-half.
The annual per capita liquor consumption this fiscal has neared around 5 litres from a mere 700 ml in 2001-02, according to an analysis of the alcohol lift-off data available with the State Excise Department. The total liquor sales in 2014-15 have touched a new high of around 1,900 lakh litres vis-à-vis 250 lakh litres in 2000-01.
While Khurda topped the beer/wine binge-chart, the new ‘spirited-up’ districts racing fast are Kalahandi and Bolangir. Industrial districts like Sundergarh, Jharsugada and Angul figure ‘high’ in the ‘spirited list’ in the state.